Apple Releases NSA Request Details

Apple Releases NSA Request Details

silver apple Apple Releases NSA Request DetailsApple has released the company's first transparency report yesterday. This report details what the NSA asked from the company over the past few years – kind of. You see, the NSA won't let Apple (or any other company, for that matter) disclose specific details. What Apple can tell you is how many times the government asked for data, and Apple has split up the data in the best possible way too.

Here's more on that story.

The Data Split

Apple has divided data into two categories: account requests and device requests. Account requests include any information the NSA sought about personal accounts (including personal data). Device requests includes the number of times that the NSA asked for information about a certain device.

So, how many times did the NSA ask Apple for information about user accounts? According to the newly released PDF, around 3,000 times. How often did Apple comply with these requests? Apple can't reveal that number. The NSA has stated clearly that companies aren't allowed to divulge specifics.

Apple Releases NSA Request Details: Is Apple Collecting Your Data?

Apple has told press that the company does not collect user data. Apple went further to state that other companies do collect this data. We can only assume that Apple is taking a direct stab at Google here. But, like Apple, Google can't reveal any specific details.

Why are companies revealing this information at all? Big companies like Apple, Yahoo, Google and others want to prove to the world that they are not collecting data and aren't part of the government conspiracy. That's a really hard thing to do when the government has told these companies not to give up any real information.

The public wants to see details, but all you'll get right now are some stats that are somewhat vague.

Is More Information Coming?

The government states that letting companies like Apple give up really specific details would be a threat to public security. Let's not forget that the NSA works to keep the U.S. safe from terrorist (and other) attacks, and letting lots of information slip about the NSA's methods might be dangerous (so the story goes).

It's a really fine line between government privacy that's needed and privacy that infringes on citizen rights. It's also a line that Apple and others are having a really hard time straddling. Sure, the people want more details, but Apple can't give those up just yet.

Apple Releases NSA Request Details: More Snowden Leaks

In addition to Apple's latest PDF release, more Snowden leaks point to the fact that the NSA did tap into both Google and Yahoo data centers. This may mean that Google and Yahoo are (and did) store user privacy details, and that those details were given to the NSA. Again, though, companies can't reveal specifics.

So, here's the issue: Apple, Google, and Yahoo need to prove to the public that these companies are safe to trust and use. But, the government won't let those companies give up any really important details about NSA requests. That's a tough situation to be in. It may also be the one reason why Google is thought to be building an offshore data center. Thoughts?

Cloud Hosting Provider Battle: Apple Wins, Second Place Might Surprise You

Cloud Hosting Provider Battle

Cloud Hosting Provider BattleWhen it comes to your video and music content, who's your cloud-hosting provider? If you’re like the twenty-seven percent of cloud storage clients in the U.S., it’s Apple’s iCloud. Why so much iCloud love? It’s all about the sweet, sweet, music, it seems. People go where the digital media is. So, shouldn’t Amazon or Google take the number two spot?

Cloud Hosting

After all, like Apple, they too are successful in the world of digital media and entertainment marketplaces, cloud hosting provider, and just as big as Apple. Right?

Wrong.

It appears Dropbox holds the number two cloud hosting provider spot, with seventeen percent of cloud storage in the US. Granted, they were pretty close to Amazon Cloud Drive (only two percentage points away), with Google Drive coming in at ten percent.

This is a bit interesting, as Dropbox does not have any form of dedicated entertainment marketplace, nor does it have any special features just for digital content. It's just a cloud-hosting provider for any kind of digital information. So why did it appear in this report as number two?

Cloud Hosting Provider Battle: Content Is King

It is estimated that approximately forty-five percent of Dropbox users store music in the company’s cloud. Right on target, Dropbox has also recent acquired Audiogalaxy, a media player, to entice more users. If Audiogalaxy proves user, Dropbox could very well carve out a niche. It’s hard to ignore the fac

t that Dropbox users are familiar with the platform and like the user-friendliness of it all. Those things might not be as important as music storage, but being able to use a cloud service like Dropbox without any issues is a big bonus.

It will also pay for services like Dropbox to try and nab those people that don’t currently use a cloud-storage platform to store tunes. Marketing to that forgotten crowd could be a goldmine for a service like Dropbox – who knows, Apple may not reign as the king of cloud music storage for long!

The Future Of The Cloud Hosting Provider

Those seeking a way to store music (and other stuff) in the cloud now have a ton of options to choose from. On the business side of things, entering into an already saturated market is never a good thing, but many of these providers could go the music niche route, and that would add up to a wider, more receptive, audience.

There’s one more point here too: many people have never used cloud storage and don’t know how it works. That’s a fact that’s hard to believe, but it exists all the same. Are you one of those people? Do you use one of the providers listed above? Devoted to Dropbox? Hate Apple? Let us know in the comments!

Tim Cook Preaches New Apple

appleApple News

When Tim Cook talks about Apple, he becomes rhapsodic. When asked by Bloomberg/Business week's Josh Tyrangiel in an interview this week whether he thought of himself as an “enormously responsible” person, Cook responded:

I love the company. A significant part of my life is Apple. Maybe some people would say it's all of my life. I would say it's a significant part. And you know, I feel both a love for it [and] I feel a responsibility. I think this company is a jewel. I think it's the most incredible company in the world, and so I want to throw all of myself into doing everything I can do to make sure that it achieves its highest, highest potential.

His self-professed love for and dedication to the company, where he has spent the last 14 years, mirrors how millions of customers relate to Apple. There's a cult of Apple, and Cook is now the high priest, though he humbly states that he's merely privileged to serve the faithful. He told Tyrangiel:

I've talked to many other CEOs who look at me like I have three heads when I talk about getting hundreds or thousands of customer e-mails in a day. It's a privilege. It's like you're sitting at the kitchen table. You're a part of the family. And we have to continue to honor that.

Cooks treats Apple like a sacred trust handed down from its co-founder, and he's on a media campaign to share his updated version of the Apple gospel. “In creating these great products, we focus on enriching people's lives — a higher cause for the product. These are the macro things that drive the company,” Cook said in the interview. He references “we” rather than “I” in his remarks, a reflection of his sense of himself as a reluctant public figure who values collaboration over confrontation.

And he wants to surround himself with those who share his deeply emotional attachment — drink the Kool-Aid — to the Apple brand. In describing his relationship to Apple design chief and Steve Jobs favorite Jony Ive, Cook said:

I love Jony. He's an incredible guy, and I have a massive amount of respect for him. What bonds us? We both love Apple. We both want Apple to do great things. We both subscribe to the same principles. We believe in the simple, not the complex. We believe in collaboration. We both view Apple as here to make the best products in the world. So our values are the same.