The tools governments use to regulate behavior online are very similar, even in countries as seemingly dissimilar as the United States and China, but what differs is the incentive structures they create.
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In developing a system for preventing the spread of child sexual abuse material that involves scanning the material of all those using certain apps, Apple is acclimatizing the idea of bulk surveillance.
This is my favorite story of the episode. David Kris covers a report from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board on the enormous value that European governments get in fighting terrorism from the same American surveillance programs that European institutions have been fighting for twenty years to shut down. It’s a delightful takedown of European virtue-signaling, and I hope the Biden Administration gives the PCLOB a new name and mission in honor of the report.
On Wednesday, July 29, at 1:00 p.m. ET, the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google will appear together at a congressional hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law. Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai will defend their companies’ business practices, following a 13-month investigation by the subcommittee over whether the tech giants have stifled competition and harmed consumers.
Once again, the FBI is seeking Apple’s help in unlocking phones in a counterterrorism case. But this time, Apple is technically incapable of providing assistance.
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Order from Chaos.
Experts in the technology industry are closely watching the Apple–Qualcomm litigation, in which the phone and computer designer has charged the chip-making firm of anticompetitive behavior and the chip maker has retaliated with multiple worldwide patent lawsuits. But the dispute is worth the attention of national security experts, too. Recent developments set up a potentially revealing showdown in the larger context of the Trump administration’s foreign economic policy.
On Dec. 11, Nick Weaver argued that Apple isn’t doing enough to help law enforcement wiretap iPhone users. That's undoubtedly true, as Apple is building communications systems optimized for privacy and security, not wiretapping. Nick's piece makes some good points but it also makes some assertions that deserve pushback. In particular, Nick wrote:
Apple’s recent acquiescence to the Chinese government, both by removing anti-censorship VPN applications and in Tim Cook’s recent speech in China, is not just disturbing because it shows Apple succumbing to Chinese pressure to remove counter-censorship applications and Skype from the Chinese App Store.
With the Texas church shooting having put encryption back on the front burner, I claim that Apple is becoming the FBI's crazy ex-girlfriend in Silicon Valley—and offer the tapes to prove it.