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Tag: Verizon

Verizon Sides with Apple in Fight with FBI Over Unlocking Cell Phone

VerizonBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The nation’s largest mobile carrier, Verizon Wireless, is siding with Apple in its fight against the FBI over unlocking an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters, The Verge reports. 

“Verizon is committed to protecting customer privacy and one of the tools for protecting that privacy is encryption,” Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said.

The CEO said Verizon supports “availability of strong encryption with no back doors.”

McAdam joined Apple’s Tim Cook in calling for Congress to arrive at a resolution so that the case isn’t decided by a single judge.

“The case with Apple presents unique issues that should be addressed by Congress, not on an ad-hoc basis,” McAdam said.

Verizon’s position has surprised some because the company helped the NSA with mass surveillance and bulk data-collection programs.

Ex-FBI Agent Mike Mason Expresses Concern About Sabotage in Verizon Strike

Mike Mason/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-FBI official Mike Mason, who heads up security at Verizon, is voicing concern about the strike by company workers on the east coast that has resulted in the sabotage at some facilities including a police department and hospital.

“I consider that an unpatriotic act,” Mason, a former executive assistant director of the criminal division  at the FBI, told the Associated Press. “These cuts aren’t just affecting a faceless, monolithic company.”

The AP reports that Verizon has discovered 90 acts of sabotage since the strike began last week involving 45,000 landline employees from Massachusetts to D.C.  The FBI is involved in the investigating the matter.

An FBI spokesman said the agency is involved in the probe.

“Because critical infrastructure has been affected, namely the telecommunications of both a hospital and a police department, the FBI is looking into this matter from a security standpoint as part of our security efforts leading up to the 9-11 anniversary,” Special Agent Bryan Travers said in an email, according to AP.

Candice Johnson, a union spokeswoman from the Communications Workers of America, said:

“CWA does not condone illegal action of any kind, and instructs its members to conduct all strike activities in accordance with labor law.”

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Atty. Gen. Holder Says He Hopes FBI Director Confirmed Way Before Sept.

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The hunt for a new FBI director — and the Senate confirmation —  will hopefully be completed way before Robert Mueller III retires Sept. 4, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. said Tuesday.

“The goal is to have somebody nominated and ready to go,” Holder told reporters, according to USA Today. “We have to move relatively soon.”

“Bob is a hard person to replace,” Holder said of Mueller, according to USA Today. In September, he will have served out his 10-year term.

The names of a number of candidates have surfaced including Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald; ex-FBI agent Mike Mason, who heads of security at Verizon; ex-deputy attorney general James Comey; Transportation Security Administration Administrator John Pistole, who was the number two person at the FBI; Ken Wainstein, who oversaw the Justice Department’s National Security Division; former Los Angeles police chief William Bratton and N.Y. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

For a period of time, U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald appeared to be on the very short list. But his chances — at least for a while — were damaged when he showed too much swagger publicly when announcing the indictment of ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Mike Mason/fbi photo

To boot, the trial ended up being an embarrassment to Fitzgerald and his office. The jury only convicted Blagojevich of 1 of 24 counts — lying to the FBI.

The retrial could help his standing in the FBI director race if the outcome is more favorable to his office. Jury selection in downtown Chicago is currently underway.

The FBI Agents Association has endorsed Mike Mason. The endorsement could be helpful, but it only carries so much weight. He would become the first African American FBI director.

NYPD Commissioner Kelly/nypd photo

Sen.  Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)  has been pushing N.Y.  Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who certainly has the resume. But Kelly has clashed repeatedly with the FBI over the years, and some folks in Washington might try to undermine his chances. Simply put:  There are plenty agents who hate him.

Plus,  he will be 70 in September.  It’s a 10-year appointment. Then again, nothing says he would have to serve out his full term.

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