Apple Digs in for Long Fight, Lawyer Says ‘There Is No Middle Ground’

Apple Digs in for Long Fight, Lawyer Says 'There Is No Middle Ground'

Ted Olson didn’t say exactly what he wants Congress to do about US efforts to enlist Apple in cracking criminals’ encrypted iPhones, but he made one thing clear: Apple doesn’t work for the government.

“There isn’t a middle ground that I know of” to force Apple to “redesign its iPhone,” Olson, a lawyer for the company, told Bloomberg Television’s Emily Chang in an interview Wednesday morning. “The Constitution does not allow the government to conscript private companies to invent products or to change the products that they have invented.”

(Also see:  Apple Resisting Magistrate Order to Share iPhone Information)

His remarks followed a decision this week by a judge in Brooklyn, New York, denying a government request to search a drug dealer’s iPhone. That ruling contrasted sharply with a California judge’s order last month demanding the company unlock a phone used by one of the shooters in last year’s San Bernardino terrorist attack.

(Also see:  Husband of San Bernardino Attack Victim Takes Apple’s Side in FBI Spat)

Olson said that Congress should act to clarify a technology company’s responsibilities to law enforcement in such circumstances, and that piecemeal decisions by the courts will only lead to a muddle. He challenged a proposal by US Attorney General Loretta Lynch that the judiciary weigh each case one at a time, warning that “you might have one court going one way and another court going another way,” but didn’t specify what legislation he had in mind for a broader resolution of the matter.

“Do we let one company decide this issue for all of us?” Lynch had told Chang on Tuesday at the RSA cyber-security conference in San Francisco. “Do we want one company to say this is how investigations are going to be conducted and no other way?”

Olson answered that question in Wednesday’s interview: No, not one company, but one legislature.

“Congress needs to consider what technological resources exist, what can be done by the government without conscripting private citizens to change the products that they make,” he said, calling for the body to “do its job” and adding: “Let’s have this debate.”

The fight over law enforcement’s authority over encrypted communications is raging on two fronts, with Lynch delivering her message on Apple’s home turf while FBI director James Comey and Apple’s general counsel, Bruce Sewell, offered opposing views on encryption during a congressional hearing in Washington.

Asked more specifically what he wanted from legislators, Olson told a reporter after the interview, “It isn’t just Apple. It’s any kind of technological company.” For instance, he said, the government might require car makers to modify their software.

“It’s a zillion types of products. This thing has to be debated.”

But he rejected any solution that requires Apple to “go to work for the government” and warned the company will “draw a line” if the US government tries to force it “to create a product that it doesn’t want to create, and in fact a product that subverts the product that it has been creating and successfully putting in the hands of tens of millions, hundreds of millions, of people that trust the device to protect their security.”

And he bristled at remarks Lynch made that Apple shouldn’t be arguing civil liberty infringements because it isn’t being accused of doing anything wrong.

“Apple has First Amendment rights to protect its products,” Olson said. “We’re talking about the rights of Apple to make sure its iPhone has the integrity that it carefully built into it. Everyone has civil rights in this country, not just those accused of crime.”


Apple Overtakes Xiaomi in India Smartphone Shipments: IDC

Apple Overtakes Xiaomi in India Smartphone Shipments: IDC

New data released by International Data Corporation (IDC) for Q4 2015 finds that Apple overtook Xiaomi in the Indian smartphone market in terms of units shipped. Samsung, on the other hand, continued to be the top smartphone vendor in India followed by Micromax, Lenovo (and Motorola), Intex, and Lava.

According to IDC’s monthly city level smartphone tracker, the leading 30 cities of India make up approximately 51 percent of the entire smartphone market in Q4 2015. The data said that New Delhi generated the maximum demand, which was closely followed by Mumbai.

IDC detailed that the top 5 cities of India make up approximately 60 percent of the online smartphone sales in India. The 4G handsets make up around 45 percent of the market in these cities. The top 5 vendors in IDC’s top 30 city smartphone research were Samsung, which remained at the top in leading 30 cities of India, in the Q4 2015 across cities. IDC adds that the growth was driven by J-series and On series (which was constituted by online only sales), holding 29.4 percent market share within top 30 cities.

Micromax stood at the second position in Q4 2015 and captured 14.7 percent market share. Lenovo and Motorola combined held third position with 10.1 percent market share in Q4 2015 and were tagged as the most “value for money” brand led by models such as Lenovo K3 Note, Lenovo Vibe P1m, and Motorola Moto G (Gen 3) models.

Intex and Lava stood at fourth and fifth position respectively. Intex had 8.2 percent share while Lavaclosely followed with 7.1 percent. One of the biggest surprises emerged with the latest data was whenApple overtook Xiaomi with a market share of 4.6 percent while the latter captured 3.5 percent share. IDC added Apple dominated in the ‘over $300 (roughly Rs. 20,000) smartphone’ segment with a 42.1 percent market share. As per the market research firm, a major factor helping Apple edge past Xiaomi was the recent price correction for the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus in India.

xiaomi_redmi_note_prime_hands.jpgThe top 30 city smartphone research by IDC also saw some of the Chinese vendors such as Lenovo,Motorola, and Xiaomi gaining market share in these cities due to their superior positioning as quality brands.

IDC also stressed that “with increasing appeal and penetration” of the smartphones in smaller cities and towns, the tier 2 & 3 cities are expected to institute a major portion of the Indian smartphone market in the near future. Currently, the top 25 Tier 2 & 3 cities make up around 21.3 percent of Indian smartphone market. It said that the majority of the demand from these cities was for 3G models. It however notes that with increasing 4G handsets and expanding 4G network footprint by Airtel, Vodafone, soon to be launched Reliance Jio, the demand for 4G smartphones is expected to grow.

The market research firm added that in these cities, affordable handsets make up over two-thirds of the market for sub-$100 smartphones.

Commenting on the new data, Jaideep Mehta, Managing Director, IDC South Asia said, “With increasing data penetration and enhanced reach of e-commerce, the smartphone consumers in Tier 2&3 cities is becoming more aware and demanding. They want a smartphone with latest the features & specifications, affordable prices, and convenient buying options. The coming 4G revolution is promising to trigger the next wave of smartphone growth with 4G enabled devices already overtaking 3G devices as the largest smartphone category.”

“There is a clear trend of migration from feature phones to low end smartphones in smaller cities and towns, making these markets the next growth engine for the smartphone industry. With the first time mobile phone users coming on a smartphone, it will be their only connected device which meets all of their internet and entertainment needs,” added Swapnil Bhatnagar, Research Director, IDC India.


Google, Microsoft, Other Rivals Back Apple Ahead of iPhone Ruling

Google, Microsoft, Other Rivals Back Apple Ahead of iPhone Ruling

Tech industry leaders including Alphabet Inc’s Google, Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corp, AT&T and more than two dozen other Internet and technology companies were filing legal briefs on Thursday asking a judge to support Apple Inc in its encryption battle with the US government, court documents and sources familiar with the companies’ plans said.

The rare display of unity and support from Apple’s sometime-rivals showed the breadth of Silicon Valley’s opposition to the government’s anti-encryption effort.

Apple’s battle became public last month when the US Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained a court order requiring the company to write new software and take other measures to disable passcode protection and allow access to an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the December killings in San Bernardino.

Apple pushed back, arguing that such a move would set a dangerous precedent and threaten customer security. The clash has intensified a long-running debate over how much law enforcement and intelligence officials should be able to monitor digital communications.

(Also see:  Husband of San Bernardino Attack Victim Takes Apple’s Side in FBI Spat)

Apple’s industry allies, along with several privacy advocates, were filing amicus briefs – a form of comment from outside groups common in complex cases – to Riverside, California federal Judge Sheri Pym who had set a Thursday deadline.

Six relatives of San Bernardino attack victims on Thursday weighed in with their own Amicus brief opposing Apple.

The companies backing Apple largely echo the iPhone maker’s main argument, that the 1789 All Writs Act at the heart of the government’s case cannot be used to force companies to create new technology.

One amicus filing, from a group of 17 Internet companies including Twitter and LinkedIn, asserted that Congress had already passed laws that establish what companies could be obliged to do for the government, and that the court case amounted to an “end run” around those laws.

Apple, and some of the other briefs, did not go quite that far, but also asserted that Congress, not the courts, needed to address the issue. Congress has struggled without success for years to address law-enforcement concerns about encryption.

The victims’ families argued that Apple’s arguments were misplaced because the government had a valid warrant, and “one does not enjoy the privacy to commit a crime.” The families also asserted that Apple “routinely modifies its systems” to comply with Chinese government directives.

Apple has also advanced a free speech argument, on the grounds that computer code is a form of expression and cannot be coerced. The families pushed back against that defence: “This is the electronic equivalent of unlocking a door – no expression is involved at all,” they said.

Two big coalitions
The tech and Internet industries largely coalesced around two filings. One includes market leaders such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook, and smaller, younger companies such as Mozilla, Snapchat andDropbox.

That group noted that Congress passed the All Writs Act before the invention of the light bulb, and that it goes too far to contend that the law can be used to force engineers to disable security protections.

The brief also highlighted a unanimous 2014 US Supreme Court case which said law enforcement needed warrants to access smartphones snared in an arrest, said a source familiar with the brief who declined to be named because it had yet to be filed.

That opinion, penned by Chief Justice John Roberts, united the Supreme Court’s liberal and conservative factions.

The second industry coalition, which includes Twitter Inc, eBay Inc and LinkedIn Corp, contended in its filing that the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) of 1994, along with other statutes, had already made it clear what the companies could or could not be forced to do.

CALEA requires telephone companies to allow interception of communications, but notably excludes “information service” companies from such mandates. Apple said it was rightly considered an information company in this context.

AT&T’s filing, by contrast, called for a “new legislation solution” that “applies equally to all holders of personal information,” an apparent reference to the exemption for information providers in CALEA.

Semiconductor maker Intel Corp also filed a brief of its own in support of Apple.

“We believe that tech companies need to have the ability to build and design their products as needed, and that means that we can’t have the government mandating how we build and design our products,” said Chris Young, senior vice president and general manager for Intel Security Group, in an interview.

The Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society filed a separate brief on Thursday on behalf of a group of well-known experts on iPhone security and encryption, including Charlie Miller, Dino Dai Zovi, Bruce Schneier and Jonathan Zdziarski.

Privacy advocacy groups the American Civil Liberties Union, Access Now and the Wickr Foundation filed briefs on Wednesday in support of Apple before Thursday’s deadline set by Pym.

Salihin Kondoker, whose wife Anies Kondoker was injured in the San Bernardino attack, also wrote on Apple’s behalf, saying he shared the company’s fear that the software the government wants Apple to create to unlock the phone could be used to break into millions of other phones.

Law enforcement officials have said that Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were inspired by Islamist militants when they shot and killed 14 people and wounded 22 others last December 2 at a holiday party. Farook and Malik were later killed in a shootout with police and the FBI said it wants to read the data on Farook’s work phone to investigate any links with militant groups.

Earlier this week, a Brooklyn judge ruled that the government had overstepped its authority by seeking similar assistance from Apple in a drug case.


Apple Supplier Broadcom to Slash 1,900 Jobs Globally

Apple Supplier Broadcom to Slash 1,900 Jobs Globally

Chipmaker Broadcom Ltd, the company created following the merger of Avago and Broadcom, said it would cut about 1,900 jobs globally across its businesses.

Shares of Broadcom, which also supplies to Apple Inc, were up 8 percent at $148.20 in extended trading on Thursday.

The company said it expects to take charges of about $650 million related to the job cuts through 2018.

Avago completed its $37 billion deal for Broadcom last month.

Revenue for the legacy Avago business fell 4 percent to $1.77 billion in the three months ended Jan. 31.

On an adjusted basis, the company reported revenue of $1.78 billion, above the $1.75 billion analysts’ on average had expected, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company’s net income fell to $377 million, or $1.30 per share, in the first quarter, from $429 million, or $1.49 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned $2.41 per share, well above the average analyst estimate of $2.30.

Broadcom forecast adjusted revenue of $3.55 billion, plus or minus $75 million, for its second quarter ending April. Analysts on average were expecting $3.57 billion.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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