Katie's Week In Review: February 21, 2016

Apple has made quite a splash on the national news this week with their stance on privacy and fighting the FBI’s request they provide assistance with cracking an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino killers. Here’s a recap of some of the headlines for the week ending February 21, 2016:

  • Apple was in Federal Court this week fighting a request by the FBI to help them circumvent several security features of an iPhone 5c that was used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino killings late last year. Apple is concerned that building a tool to crack this security would create a backdoor into the iPhone setting a troubling legal precedent for future cases and potentially opening Pandora’s box to allow the the US, other governments and potentially hackers to access data on encrypted devices. Tim Cook posted a special Message to Customers on Apple’s Web site earlier this week explaining Apple’s position.
  • News about this case has been coming fast and furious all week, it’s difficult to keep up with the latest. Bryan Chaffin at The Mac Observer has written several articles throughout the week summarizing some of the major developments. It appears that Apple has been working with the FBI since Early January to access information on the phone, and that efforts to recover information may have been hindered by the San Bernardino Health Department, the owner of the iPhone, changing the iCloud password at the FBI’s request during early efforts to retrieve information.
  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has announced they are Supporting Apple. Joseph Bonneau, writing for the EFF has provided a Technical Perspective on the iPhone case.
  • Ben Thompson of Stratechery offers some interesting analysis of why Apple choosing to fight this battle given this is an older iPhone and the optics surrounding this particular case is risky, but also important.
  • Moving on to a different topic, after receiving flack for the ominous “Error 53” that would brick iPhones with faulty Touch ID sensors, apple has released a fix in the form of an updated version of iOS 9.2.1. This update will restore phones that were previously disabled by Error 53 and prevent future phones from experiencing the error, but will not solve any underlying problem with the phone’s Touch ID sensor.
  • The hits just keep on coming for the Mac App Store, it appears that a certificate update last Sunday caused problems again and prevented some applications from opening and properly validating a Mac App Store Receipt. I personally experienced this issue on several, but not all of my apps Purchased from the Mac App Store. It seems that Apps that were recently updated (such as 1Password) worked fine, but apps that hadn’t seen updates in a while (such as Byword) had problems. Michael Tsai has again written about this issue on his site and has more information.
  • Turning our attention to things that may actually help improve reliability and security, as reported by Juli Clover at MacRumors, Instagram has announced it’s rolling out two-factor authentication to help protect users from hacking attempts. I’m a big fan of two-factor authentication and use it on just about every account that will support it.
  • 1Password is introducing a new product, 1Password for families. The service allows a family of 5 to use and share passwords securely for only $5 a month which includes access to all the 1Password apps.
  • If you were ever curious what happens to an old iPhone that you turn into Apple’s “Reuse and Recycle” program, Tim Culpan of Bloomberg Business got a behind the scenes look at where your iPhone goes to die, and be reborn.
  • In what seems particularly relevant given the news this week, here’s a clip of Steve Jobs at the D8 conference on how Apple views privacy. (Thanks to Rene Ritchie for sharing the link.)