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Apple FBI update, Sprint class-action filing … 5 things to know today

Apple ‘hacking department,’ Sprint worker complaints … 5 things to know today

1. Apple told a court it has a “compelling interest in not creating” the software the FBI is requesting. The FBI wants Apple’s engineers to write software the government could use to access information on the San Bernardino gunman’s iPhone by repeatedly guessing passwords until it hits upon the right one. Apple doesn’t want to comply, saying the task would take six to 10 engineers as long as four weeks to complete. Apple said the engineers would have to work under the strictest security, and once they developed the code, Apple would have to incur the expense of guarding it from hackers, or would have to destroy the code and risk the prospect of starting over if this comes up again.

“Responding to these demands would effectively require Apple to create full-time positions in a new ‘hacking’ department to service government requests and to develop new versions of the back door software every time iOS changes, and it would require Apple engineers to testify about this back door as government witnesses at trial,” according to Apple’s court filing.

Of course the case involves issues much broader than the impact on Apple. The company says the “GovtOS” the FBI wants would threaten Americans’ civil liberties and would be harmful, not helpful, to national security. The FBI now says the issue should be decided by Congress, not the courts.

2. Microsoft’s chief legal officer this week told Congress his company plans to file a motion supporting Apple. According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook and Alphabet also plan to join Microsoft in filing a joint motion supporting Apple’s position. The leaders of both those companies have already voiced support for Apple in public comments.

3. Sprint may face a class-action lawsuit in California. Quintilone & Associates, which specializes in class-action lawsuits, says it has successfully certified an action against Sprint alleging violations of the California Labor Code. The lawsuit alleges Sprint failed to pay wages and related overtime compensation and failed to provide meal times and rest periods for workers.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in eastern California. The plaintiffs are Viet Bui and Christina Avalosreyes, who are suing Sprint on behalf of all other “similarly situated employees and on behalf of the general public.”

Nine months ago Sprint settled a very different type of class-action lawsuit that alleged the carrier had misled investors between October 2006 and February 2008. Claimants who said Sprint’s executives had inflated the company’s stock price were collectively awarded $131 million. The executives involved denied any wrongdoing.

4. Foxconn’s planned takeover of Sharp may have hit a snag. Yesterday, Sharp said it had a deal to sell a two-thirds stake to Foxconn, the Chinese manufacturer that builds most of Apple’s products. (Sharp is a display supplier to Apple.) Today, Foxconn said it had acquired “new material information” from Sharp and that it needed to evaluate the new findings before sealing the deal. Foxconn added it hopes to reach a satisfactory agreement as soon as possible.

5. Facebook is rolling out live video to Android in the U.S. The social media giant says users watch video for up to three-times longer when it is live versus prerecorded. The company is touting the service not only as a way for friends and family to connect, but also as a way for public figures (i.e. candidates) to connect with large audiences in real time. A candidate could publicize an upcoming video appearance on their Facebook page and then stream to millions of viewers.

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Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse is the publisher of Network Builder Reports ( At RCR, Martha authored more than 20 in-depth feature reports and more than 2,400 news articles. She also created the Mobile Minute and the 5 Things to Know Today series. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York and managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Martha is the board president of Austin's Trinity Center and is a member of the Women's Wireless Leadership Forum.

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