CurrentC Rollout Postponed

MCX is having a bad time with its CurrentC rollout. Where by "having a bad time" means "finally coming to terms with what everyone else predicated all along and succumbing to the grim realization that their platform is a deeply flawed abomination that must be eradicated by any means necessary."

I wrote a little bit about CurrentC last year, when it was relevant for a hot second. From a short piece back in August (added emphasis):

Placing arbitrary barriers in front of your customers is not a good idea, especially when the alternative is a grossly less secure, less private disaster that looks like it's going to die before it even arrives. CurrentC is going to crash and burn. No question.

Not trying to gloat. I have no intention to draw parallels between myself and Nostradamus. No, I'd consider myself much more akin to Nostradamus' prophetically inept, far less cited half-brother, Brett. Brettstradamus. He who accurately predicted that that exposed nail sticking out of the floorboard... Yeah, that one. The rusty one. Yeah. That. Like if you step on that, man, that'll fucking hurt and there's a decent chance you get tetanus. No joke. Watch your foot, bro. You don't want that shit, 'cause how will you kick a stupid company while its down with your tetanus foot?

'Test Case, Please Ignore'

Dominic Mauro, writing on his fantastic site, Barely Legally:

Hey, so, remember that guy Farook and his phone that the FBI really really wants to unlock and poke around in? Sure is funny how the FBI was hilariously inept in their investigation, and now the only way they can get into the phone is by having Apple build a tool to circumvent its own security measures, right?

After all, if you were the FBI, and you wanted a test case, this whole “real live radicalized Muslim terrorist committing an act of war on American soil with pipe bombs and assault rifles before dying in a glorious shootout with the police” thing would be, like, the perfect test case. It sure would be a shame if the traditional investigation went awry, and the only way to get access to the phone was filing a completely novel test case.

If you're not following Mauro's work, you really owe it to yourself to make it a regular read. Not only is the writing good, it's coming from someone who is knowledgable about the justice system. He provides a unique perspective that few of us have the benefit of experiencing professionally.

In this instance, he provides an excellent, concise history about some high(er)-profile test cases that helps provide some insight as to why the FBI is pushing the San Bernadino case so hard.

The FBI clearly wants more access to these devices. Encryption makes their jobs significantly more difficult (if not impossible). Their best bet to gain the support of the courts and the public is to leverage a case that targets the very core of a nation's collective fear. Few things elicit a more violently emotional (and completely irrational) sentiment than the word "terrorism" coupled with the word "Muslim." Regardless of the validity of the government's claims–which, at this point, are beginning to sound much closer to the plot of a shitty 90s cyber-thriller–they don't have much of choice but to pursue this.

Make no mistake, this is not a case about a single phone, a single incident. It's about expanding the powers of the government, and ensuring that unprohibited access to private information is the norm for investigators when they assert they need it. As we've seen many times in the past (something Mauro demonstrates in his piece regarding the Patriot Act), if we relent in even the slightest way, we'll find our way of life altered irreparably. This can't happen.

Apple Support Joins Twitter

Today, in a desperate attempt to save their doomed tech conglomerate, Apple Inc. finally joined Twitter, the social media network that has been slowly circling the drain for years.

It's not immediately apparent why the struggling Cupertino-based computer company (forever living in the shadow of its deceased founder) chose to establish a presence on the micro-blogging platform that only has 320M monthly active users–an already pitiful number that is threatened by a series of (ill-conceived) recent changes to the platform–but keen eyes will note that this is yet another troubling milestone from a company whose panicked leadership seems intent to throw anything at the wall (barring their own gadgets, of course, because unlike all of their competitors, Apple has yet to circumvent the laws of physics and make their devices indestructible) in an attempt to right a swiftly sinking ship. Between a smart watch that was effectively dead on arrival, to a streaming music service enveloped in constant controversy, to the omnipresent reports of their software effectively crumbling from within, it's not surprising that they would divert their attention from more important matters to futz around on a failing website chock full of GIFs and variations of the same joke regurgitated by different people hundreds of times during every event that has a modicum of notoriety.

Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, welcomed Apple in a series of tweets this morning:

The claims of an exhausted leader doing his damnedest to obfuscate the dire reality that his company is tearing itself apart at the seams.

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, tweeted a vague-yet-optimistic announcement himself earlier this afternoon, staying true to Apple's insincere claims that they care about their customers:

A blatant jab at the FBI. This is about what we could expect from the man who took over a burgeoning company and ran it into the ground.

Classless.

Needless to say, it's disheartening to see two formerly great companies in bed with one another in the final throes of their turbulent existence, but it is fitting at the very least. It's only a matter of time before the sheer weight of Apple's bloat causes Twitter to collapse in on itself, igniting a violent implosion that swallows both organizations whole. From within the gaping maw of the resulting singularity, a weary Steve Jobs–having journeyed endlessly for years throughout the multiverse–will emerge to usher in an extra four weeks of winter. Carrying Tim Cook's withered, broken body in his arms, Jobs will close the rift behind him. Our timeline will be immediately thrust into a reality where Apple and Twitter never existed. Everyone has an Android phone. Google+ rose to single-handedly destroy Facebook.

And somewhere, a moist Eric Schmidt will quietly shudder in the midst of a spontaneous and violent orgasm.

'A Message to Our Customers'

Tim Cook:

The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.

This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake.

This is, of course, in response to the story that broke yesterday that a federal judge has ordered Apple to assist the FBI in hacking the work iPhone of one of the San Bernadino shooters. Please go read the letter in its entirety. Few things are more important right now.

I've written multiple times now about Tim Cook's stance on customer privacy and staying true to Apple's principles in that regard. He has held strong today and produced a response infused with honesty and care that other business leaders should aim to emulate.

Cook rightly calls out the serious implications of this order, and emphasizes a need to educate the public, rather than fall back on hyperbole to evoke fear (like the government has time and time again).

This is just the beginning. I'm sure Apple will get dragged through the mud by officers and politicians alike in the coming weeks, months, years. What will be remembered though is that this thrusts the privacy debate into the spotlight, and history will remember Apple as a leader in maintaining freedom when others would seek to erode it.

I've never been more proud to be an Apple customer.

'Making a Murderer' Valentine's Day Cards

Have you, like many millions of Netflix viewers, been enraptured by the documentary detailing a great travesty perpetuated by the American justice system? Do you now consider yourself an aficionado of the underground movement known as StrangCore? Do you also appreciate good humor, supporting independent artists and important charitable organizations?

If you answered yes to one (or all) of these questions, I would kindly direct your attention to one of my favorite things right now: Making A Murderer Valentine's Day Cards. My friend, Nick Lacke, created these, and the finished product does not disappoint in the slightest. They're fantastic.

From the listing:

For $5, you'll get a set of five Valentines that can either be shared easily online or can be printed, cut, and given to friends, family, loved ones, lawyers, etc.

ALSO, 50% of the proceeds of these sales will go to the Midwest Innocence Project, which deals with cases like Steven Avery's and tries to prevent innocent people from being locked away in jail.

$5? A steal (for which you won't be indicted). It'd be a crime not to take advantage.