back to article NSA PRISM snoop-gate: Won't someone think of the children, wails Apple

Apple has joined Facebook and Microsoft in revealing it has received thousands of requests for sensitive user data from US investigators in less than a year. And like the two other giants, the fruity computer company is vague about the details. A statement from Cupertino marks another attempt to diffuse the ongoing row over …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really?

    Apple is going with "Won't somebody think of the children?".

    I suspect that the numerous requests from the NSA weren't about missing children.

    I wonder who wrote their script?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really?

      Read the text carefully - most numerous requests != request for the most data.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really?

      There is a fundamental problem here - the law postulates that Apple is not allowed to tell the truth.. The Patriot act is _EXTREMELY_ clear on that. It is a variety of the Liar's Paradox so no way out here until the law is changed.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Really?

        AFAIK none of these corporations has said that they must lie about NSA backdoors by law and any queries should be referred to the US government. That would probably be the best way to show trustworthiness (if it could be shown), talking about Alzheimer sufferers and children or the privacy of iMessage, FaceTime, map searches, location details and Siri requests are just more lies amongst many.

        1. NomNomNom

          Re: Really?

          "AFAIK none of these corporations has said that they must lie about NSA backdoors by law and any queries should be referred to the US government."

          Because it's probably illegal to tell anyone you are bound by such an agreement.

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Really?

          I suppose you could beat them with logic.

          Ask Google, "if I asked Amazon were they being forced to lie about national security letters, would they say yes?"

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      Or to put it in a British context;

      How many Brazillians has the met shot this year?

      The majority of calls to the police are to deal with lost kittens or asking a local bobby the time.

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Really?

      "Apple is going with "Won't somebody think of the children?"."

      Yup.

      Hey, their customers bought the iWhatever off them. It was 2x or 3x more expensive than an equivalent device to do the same thing.

      Why shouldn't they swallow that line?

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    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: NSA Snoops on YOU

      Why are leaving Google out Eadon?

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: NSA Snoops on YOU

          All modern IT corporations and indeed devils like Monsanto are nightmarish in how powerful they are, with that power coming from plebs with facebook profiles and twitter accounts freely giving away information because "they have nothing to hide" yet are shocked at being snooped on!

          People really are thick as pigs s**t!

    2. John P

      Re: NSA Snoops on YOU

      Is it not possible that MS were simply the first company to be asked?

      Also, from what I can gather, the data Microsoft provided consists mainly of information regarding people's Microsoft accounts which, prior to Windows 8, were completely disconnected from one's OS. All the files on my PC, except for any that were in SkyDrive, are completely unknown to Microsoft therefore making your statement of switching to Linux to avoid such information being hoovered up completely erroneous.

      MS have the same amount of data on a Windows user using their MS account online (Outlook, skydrive, etc) as they do a Linux user using an MS account online (all 2 of them). Last I checked they didn't send your local search queries to Amazon against your will without allowing you to turn it off, unlike a certain Linux distribution...

      Some of the points you make in this and other posts are actually quite valid, but your continuing paranoid-delusional bias against MS completely ruins your credibility.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: NSA Snoops on YOU

        Not too long ago MS was also the largest email provider on the planet. Plenty of people still use Hotlook (or whatever they're calling it). It only stands to reason that terrorists would use the most popular email service of the Great Satan against them.

        Besides, we all know that exploding yourself at church or at the market requires years of intense planning and intelligence gathering. Terrorists who migrated to Gmail may have left clues about their groundshaking plans buried in old accounts.

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: NSA Snoops on YOU

          My credibility is now vindicated yet again with correct analyses.

          The only "vind" you will ever get near is vindaloo. You're attempting to use the same trick as truth sayers: the habit of the human mind to only flag success (more about that can be found in the Full Facts of Cold Reading if you're interested, considerably more fascinating than your public self delusions).

          You had a much better opportunity if you said that Microsoft stands accused of providing the NSA with zero day vulnerabilities. That doesn't vindicate you either, because the NSA will have found the Linux ones without any help as it's Open Source and thus easy to get hold of without anyone the wiser.

          Please feel free to resume your ranting. You presently have a fairly low S/N ratio so you're becoming a bit like the Sun trashpaper: 99% rubbish, but read for either the comics or page 3*. And I suspect you're more radio material than page 3.

          (*) I'm being a tad unfair here - its sports section is apparently of a better quality than the rest.

        2. Marshalltown

          Re: NSA Snoops on YOU

          You want to consider the origins of Hotmail. It and Yahoo Mail and AOL (I think) all became operational in the mid '90s. Before that we had netcom.com and a couple of other services that have since vanished away, or we connected through a local ISP. As I recall a lot of us thought that ideas like AOL, Yahoo and Hotmail and MSN weren't all that bright an idea if you were really interested in anonymity on the internet. I recall explaining to a lot of hand-waving little dears, while manning the hell desk, that you really didn't need to be a "member" of Yahoo or AOL, that a web browser and a knowledge of the http address a search engine like Altavista were all you really needed to navigate the web, and that they could quite easily use the email address the company had assigned them for any email communications they needed to make. That was got me started reading BOFH and User Friendly.

        3. John P

          Re: NSA Snoops on YOU

          Just because a proportion, say 10% (and I'm being generous there), of your paranoid-delusional bias turns out to be kind of true, doesn't make the other 90% of MS ARE $HIT AND EVIL rhetoric any less unfounded.

          Maybe after PRISM was 'born', the first case involved someone who had a hotmail address. Maybe they weren't asked first, but were simply the first to comply out of a load of companies who were asked at the same time. It honestly could be any reason, no need to assume at this point that it's an MS being evil reason.

          Given the language coming out of Google, Apple and MS - accepting that there may be a certain amount of ass-covering going on - it seems that they didn't really have a lot of choice. If they are bound by laws that prevent them from speaking specifics about the data they have provided, I'd be highly surprised the NSA are just relying on these companies providing the data out of the kindness of their heart. Even if there aren't laws involved, I'd be willing to bet they didn't ask nicely...

          MS are just as responsible for their actions as Google, Apple, etc. Disproportionately focusing on Microsoft only serves to let the others off easy.

          1. Ted Treen
            Big Brother

            Re: NSA Snoops on YOU

            "...MS are just as responsible for their actions as Google, Apple, etc. Disproportionately focusing on Microsoft only serves to let the others off easy..."

            Yup, and all this squabbling from Macfans & Winfans is giving an effective smokescreen diverting attention away from the real villains.

            Yep, those deranged egomaniac self-serving arrogant bastards called "Politicians"...

      3. Daniel B.
        Boffin

        Re: NSA Snoops on YOU @John P

        Also, from what I can gather, the data Microsoft provided consists mainly of information regarding people's Microsoft accounts which, prior to Windows 8, were completely disconnected from one's OS.

        Not necessarily. Windows XP had a "feature" where you could link your XP user to your MS/Passport/Live/whatever account. A lot of people did link their accounts, so extracting stuff from such PCs would give out as much info as the win8 linkage.

        Oh, talking about old MS OS ... remember NSAKEY?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: NSA Snoops on YOU @John P

          Ah yes, NSAKEY, exactly what I'd call my shady back door for the NSA were I to put one into my product. These arguments are typical conspiracy theorist rubbish, they run along the lines of "these guys are really smart, they're spying on you without you knowing" and "they're stupid because they call the secret NSA backdoor "the NSA back door"."

          Conspiracy theories is the last thing we need here, because they muddy the water and allow many aspects of what's going on to go undetected in the general conspiracist noise.

    3. phuzz Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: NSA Snoops on YOU

      Eadon is actually a sock-puppet of Microsoft PR, he spouts hyperbolic nonsense and makes linux users look like loonies, and he brings out the rational voices in support of M$.

      It shouldn't work as well as it does.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: NSA Snoops on YOU

        "Eadon is actually a sock-puppet of Microsoft PR, he spouts hyperbolic nonsense and makes linux users look like loonies, and he brings out the rational voices in support of M$.

        It shouldn't work as well as it does."

        You're right - it's hard now to think about Linux without thinking of loonies like Eaden. I must say, he is doing a good job for his Microsoft bosses

    4. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: NSA Snoops on YOU

      "Our UK government should transition to Linux ASAP to avoid our tax going to pay for systems that are NSA telescopes trained on ourselves"

      Who the hell are you to dictate UK government policy?

      If I was to be so arrogant, I'd advise them to go with a truly free operating system, not the GPL-restricted Linux

    5. Tom 13

      Re: MS also forewarns the NSA about zero-day exploits

      how very, very odd. I think you have this backwards: the NSA tells MS when they have a zero day exploit that is putting the government at risk.

      And you of all people to make that mistake.

  3. kbb

    Numbers

    Seems that Microsoft either have better linked accounts than Facebook/Apple or they are more generous with their answers: approx 5 accounts per request vs. 2 for the others.

    Or there was one massive fishing expedition. :-)

  4. frank ly Silver badge

    Children and Alzheimer's sufferers

    Is that the iPhone target market?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Children and Alzheimer's sufferers

      Yes!

      You'd need to be a child or have alzheimers to want an iFolly!

  5. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Big Brother

    prism-break.org

    I found this yesterday, apart from the nice pun is has some good links for online privacy.

    http://prism-break.org/

    1. vahid

      Re: prism-break.org

      nice but

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-06-06/nsa-att-and-secrets-room-641a

      What if the NSA has black boxes in all ISP's

      what would changing from a source with a black box to a new source, whilst ISP has it achieve ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: prism-break.org

        what if they aren't black boxes? what if they are fairly innocent looking commercial, vendor branded routers, with "someone else" providing the internal electronics & software? Coming soon to a rack near you .... (ok, not soon, but a while ago, and a rack adjacent to you, unless your data centre manager is a complete moron, or in "someone's" pocket)

  6. Alan Denman

    Business as usual Apple.

    Why let the iNSAmessage get in the way when you can add a spot of forgetful marketing into the iNSAmessage.

    Jobs and now the new team are certainly decsended from Nostradamus.

    Nothing direct as ever from Apple.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Business as usual Apple.

      If you look at the slide it seems that Jobs told them where to go. Apple joined up after his death.

      1. Alan Denman

        re "If you look at the slide it seems that Jobs told them where to go" .......

        yes, we know all about their direct words.

        ........to the 3rd door on the left?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am not a terrorist

    So frankly I don't care. However if you are a terrorist and are reading this then seriously you should leave the internet and use the post office mail system for your comms.

    <----Anon, because I used terrorist twice, and they might be tracking me.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: I am not a terrorist

      The fact you are not a terrorist is the heart of the issue. I guess you missed that huh...

      1. ukgnome Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: I am not a terrorist

        Surely if you are not a terrorist then you have nothing to hide, except maybe a few obscure specialist site subscriptions maybe.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I am not a terrorist

          I have things I want to hide, I just don’t do them on the internet…

    2. Down not across

      Re: I am not a terrorist

      ...yet. What if the next regime decides to classify something that you indulge in now to be akin to terrorism or aiding in terrorism? Suddenly you would find out you have something to hide, but the interwebs don't forget.

      1. Maharg

        Re: I am not a terrorist

        If the next ‘regime’ wants to classify something that I do as ‘terrorism’ then they are going to find a lot of people not voting for them in the next election, that’s if they manage to get a law passed classifying what I do as terrorism, we do not live in a dictatorship, hell, the US Gov can’t even get assault rifles outlawed when it wants to, and the British government are trying their best to make the Police and Military as useless and ineffectual as possible, you think they can just flick a switch and decide everyone wearing glasses is to be rounded up and shot a la Pol Pot?

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: I am not a terrorist @Maharg

          There's an interesting bit of history from the 1930's in Germany you might want to study. 'We the people' have a history of voting in some stark raving lunatics. Every person who thinks as you do, just waiting for someone else to protest is part of the problem. In a representative democracy you can't wait to vote someone out, you have to take action before the next election: It is incredibly difficult to rollback power.

          1. Daniel B.
            Boffin

            @Don Jefe

            Yes, the Weimar Republic and its fall is indeed an interesting case, which is why I get irked when Godwin's Law is overused to squash out discussion concerning related topics. It is usually dismissed without taking into account that the worst evil perpetrated by the Nazis was possible because they actually made all those things legal, and even had the Reichstag passing the laws that let them do what they did. Hell, the Enabling Act even had a Patriot Act-ish name to it, the "Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich". And it was extended twice as well.

            Being able to vote in/out your representatives is useless if they keep on voting for extensions to these things. And even if someone campaigns on a platform promising to take down these things, there's absolutely no guarantee they will follow through their promises.

            1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

              Re: @Don Jefe

              And it was extended twice as well.

              Nice one. A good reference when yet another sponsor representative politician is trying to pass a law with the use of either "emergency" or "temporary". It always means that there is something in that law which they fear you may object to if you were thinking rationally.

              We have more than enough laws to deal with emergencies that do NOT harm the principle of due process, and I have yet to see temporary powers that are either extended indefinitely or turned into law proper on the next possible occasion. Does anyone actually know of an occasion where temporary power handed to the state was handed back? No? Thought so.

              1. Tom 13

                Re: know of an occasion where temporary power handed to the state was handed back?

                Civil War, suspension of habeus corpus. Or if you prefer the even larger issue at the heart of the whole damn thing: the abolition of slavery which was about to become law through the democratic process.

                World War II, internment of Japanese Americans. Took a while, but reparations were even paid for that one.

            2. Don Jefe

              Re: @Don Jefe

              You're spot on, their actions were legal, until Nuremberg; but even that only applied after the fighting was over and the winners could make new rules. If all the well examined strategic errors of the Third Reich hadn't been made would those things still be legal? Thankfully we will never know, but a lot of people died to prevent that from being the case.

              One of the great things about the way the US was structured is that it is not only a nation of law, but of principals and ideals as well. Over time the principals and ideals have been discarded because they were inconvenient to the application of various laws and that is extraordinarily dangerous. Law, being a definable set of rules, is always subject to manipulation because it is quantifiable and intricately structured. Principals and ideals are ethereal and can hold in check the law simply because they cannot be subject to writ or bull; therefore they must be eliminated. Short sighted men who could not look past their own immediate rewards have caused this world many, many problems.

              1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

                Re: @Don Jefe

                Those who knowingly keep to the letter of the law and ignore the spirit of it are guilty of treason against the people imho.

          2. Maharg

            Re: I am not a terrorist @Don Jefe

            True, but if you studied that history a bit more you would know it took an extraordinary set or circumstance, and lack of governmental powers and influence from outside the parliament that lead Hitler being Chancellor, remember he only got 18% of the vote.

            “In a representative democracy you can't wait to vote someone out, you have to take action before the next election”

            Just like the Nazi’s did.

            1. Don Jefe

              Re: I am not a terrorist @Don Jefe

              You're using your own argument against yourself. Surely you can do better than that.

              1. Maharg
                Facepalm

                Re: I am not a terrorist @Don Jefe

                Funny, thats the exact point I was making to you...

        2. Tom 13

          Re: to get a law passed classifying what I do as terrorism

          They won't pass a law. Maybe it'll be a secret Executive Order, but more likely a National Security finding. And that's assuming they want to keep it official. They can always just ignore the law like they did with the IRS scandal, or outright lie to Congress the way Holder did with the James Rosen warrant. (Or if he didn't lie to Congress, lie to a judge; but either way he lied to someone who requires truthful statements in order to properly perform their official function.)

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