Archives for posts with tag: iPhone

By now, the media has been pretty well saturated with the news that the FBI has asked Apple for help in decrypting data from the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters under the All Writs Act of 1789.  Under the 227 year old law, the US Federal Court is authorised to issue any writs it sees fit.   Without getting too much into the technicalities (there is some uncertainty about what the FBI is actually asking of Apple – i.e is it really a “backdoor” or is it simply help in unlocking one phone belonging to a terrorist?)

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Apple hit back at the FBI with an open letter to customers saying that it is a “dangerous precedent” to set because “the government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location…” and so forth.  This could be a stretch in this particular instance, but it’s brought to light serious issues with regards to technology manufacturers and national security – issues that have been around for a while now.  Teresa May suggested a bill four years ago (nicknamed the Snoopers’ Charter) that is still being discussed in Parliament and David Cameron even advocated for weakening encryption in order to tackle terrorism and crime something that has had the security professionals raging. 

So here’s the kicker – it’s taken a singular case involving Apple to finally get regular people to sit up and care.  Suddenly it’s real because it’s a big brand, despite the technology industry shouting about it for years.  Friends and family of mine were talking about Tim Cook’s open letter to customers, posting to Facebook – people who have never cared about this kind of stuff before.

Makes you wonder though – did Apple see this as a chance for some publicity?  Ask a pen tester or someone in the know, and they’ll tell you they hack iPhones all the time; it’s not a big deal.  Does the FBI really not have the resources to do it themselves?  I’m sure they could if they wanted to.  So was the request to Apple a mere courtesy that Apple has taken advantage of?  There are lots of questions around this that seem to be unanswered, but the main thing that sticks out is how Apple has managed to capitalise on the situation.

But hey, anything that makes the public consider their data security and privacy ought to be a good thing, right? Or is that spoken like a true PR person? ;0)

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The golden rule is to produce lots of great content and be very focused about where you place that content.  However there’s a bit more to it than just producing great content – so in a series of blogs I’m going to share with you some golden rules on succeeding in PR.

Firstly – Why use a PR agency?

People employ the skills of a PR agency for many reasons.  In our industry it’s usually about building a brand, raising awareness for vendors from the US or Israel as they enter new markets or regions and want to create a buzz in the media.  Other companies are keen to raise their name to the top of the Google rankings and beat their competitors with publicity, or they could be preparing for an IPO or desire to be noticed by venture capitalists or potential trade buyers. Whatever the reason it always comes down to companies wanting to ensure that more people see them in the right media, so more people come knocking on their door.  I’d say that’s a good enough reason to employ a PR agency.

They say that editorial is worth 5 times more than advertising because people believe what they read whereas with advertising they know it’s contrived to make them buy the product or service.  However with PR the agenda is hidden as the editorial has been written by a journalist so it’s got to be true – hasn’t it?

The other reason why it’s worth employing a PR agency is that they can reap dividends for you and are much cheaper than using an advertising agency.  Often even the smallest of ads can amount to two or three thousand pounds.  If you take a retainer with a PR agency it may only cost £3,000-£7,000 a month but you could get 50 to 100 pieces of editorial which is incredibly valuable in increasing your brand awareness and building your market share.  I’d say if you have the budget a mix of both advertising and PR is the perfect combination.

A good PR agency that is specialised and experienced in your space can also add a great deal of industry insight and help with all sorts of management issues – many of our clients use us as a sounding board for many a creative idea.  We’re often called into management meeting so that we can offer an objective point of view as we can see the company from the outsider’s perspective.

Also companies reach out to PR agencies because they just don’t have the man hours to do the PR themselves or they don’t have the contacts with the key press.  If you’re working with a specialist PR agency they are on the phone or emailing the key journalists every day and have a rapport with them, which is something that takes a very long time to build up and is worth its weight in gold if you’re trying to get decent coverage in tier one publications.

PR is time consuming and you need to be on the case all the time – in our business, stories are breaking throughout the day so you have to be following twitter feeds and newswires constantly to make sure you’re not missing any opportunities – often PR is just one of the many functions of an in-house marketing department so the in-house PR person just doesn’t have the bandwidth to follow all the potential stories that a PR agency does.

If you do want to build your profile and you are a company that is on the up or even a company that’s on the down and needs to make sure they reverse that process a PR agency can help to build your profile and be noticed.  There’s nothing nicer than getting those Google alerts with your name mentioned in them or even better when your PR agency rings you to tell you you’re going to be on the BBC – it’s those days you reflect on and look forward to telling your kids or even grand-children about!

In my next blog I’ll be talking about how to go about choosing the right PR agency for you.

ImageWhen I first heard about the features of the new iPhone I was thrilled. Not because I’m a huge Apple fan, in fact quite the reverse, but because it included a security feature as standard – the Fingerprint Scanner.

However, it didn’t take long for hackers to claim Apple’s scalp, proving the technology to be ‘hackable’. The Chaos Computing Club claims to have defeated Touch ID by photographing the fingerprint of an iPhone’s user, then printing it on to a transparent sheet, which it used to create a mould for a “fake finger.” But does that mean Apple was wrong to include the technology?

I’d argue not.

I like to think that I’m fairly security conscious, at least in the digital world, and have long understood the inadequacy of the passcode. However, I still use it and with good reason. I have a friend whose device doesn’t have a code and she regularly leaves it unattended. As a result it’s become a challenge to see who can slip the phone off the table and post the most obscure status updates, make random tweets, and take bizarre ‘selfies’. Secretly, she must enjoy it as I can’t see any other reason for leaving her phone lying around – but I digress. While a passcode would at least hinder our efforts, it probably wouldn’t stop the die-hards of the group. But the fingerprint scanner would.

Of course, there will be some that disagree, arguing that if security can be cracked then it’s worthless. But is that really the case? We all have locks on our front door but we know a persistent burglar isn’t going to be deterred. But the opportunist will be. And surely that’s the point.

In normal life you’d be pretty unlucky to lose your phone, or even have it stolen, and for whoever ends up with the device to also have your ‘fake’ finger. So, rather than ridicule Apple and it’s fingerprint scanner I think for once it deserves to be applauded.

In fact, I want more designers to add security features as standard to my devices. After all, any security’s better than no security – isn’t it.

 

– Dulcie –