FBI vs. Apple escalates and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

It is getting ugly between US prosecutors and Apple.

[T]he FBI cannot itself modify the software on Farook’s iPhone without access to the source code and Apple’s private electronic signature. The government did not seek to compel Apple to turn those over because it believed such a request would be less palatable to Apple. If Apple would prefer that course, however, that may provide an alternative that requires less labor by Apple programmers.

In the latest reply from the US Department of Justice to Apple’s formal motion to vacate the original order, the prosecutors are basically saying that the other option is to demand access to the source code and Apple’s private electronic signature. In DoJ’s perspective, asking Apple to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone by creating a new iOS is the lesser of two evils.

In the same filing, the DoJ has also called out Apple’s stance as “false” and “corrosive.”

Apple’s rhetoric is not only false, but also corrosive of the very institutions that are best able to safeguard our liberty and our rights: the courts, the Fourth Amendment, long-standing precedent and venerable laws, and the democratically elected branches of government

For most people, it’s probably quite confusing as to why Apple is digging its heels in. What we have to remember, more than the pros/cons of each side, is that Apple at the very core is fighting a precedent. According to Apple (emphasis is mine):

Law enforcement agents around the country have already said they have hundreds of iPhones they want Apple to unlock if the FBI wins this case… Again, we strongly believe the only way to guarantee that such a powerful tool isn’t abused and doesn’t fall into the wrong hands is to never create it.

Here are this week’s most relevant news in tech and retail:

In tech:

  1. Malicious hacks: How a hacker’s typo helped stop a billion dollar bank heist; First OS X ransomware detected in the wild, will maliciously encrypt hard drives on infected Macs
  2. Researchers created a flexible ‘skin’ that could give robots a sense of touch
  3. Alphabet: AI scores landmark victory, defeating legendary Go player in historic match; Google’s Robots Are Learning How To Pick Things Up
  4. FBI vs. Apple: Justice Department: Apple obligated to assist FBI; Security Pros React To Apple VP Federighi’s Op-Ed On Dispute With FBI
  5. General Motors acquires self-driving car startup Cruise Automation, reportedly for $1B+

In retail:

  1. Amazon to lease 20 Boeing aircraft for cargo delivery
  2. Yoox Net-a-Porter turns to IBM to propel its luxury e-commerce experience
  3. Urban Outfitters jumps after merchandise sales boost profit
  4. Zara parent Inditex slows store expansion as online sales grow
  5. Avametric raises $10.5M to further develop its virtual fitting room tech
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