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ExtraBITS for 25 January 2016

In this week’s ExtraBITS collection, the director of the National Security Agency defended encryption, a widow had to fight Apple to get her late husband’s App Store password, Apple released a new iOS app for musicians, and we got a preview of what iOS 9.3 will do for education.

NSA Director Defends Encryption -- While FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch continue to rail against encryption, information security has gained another surprising ally: NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers. During an address to the Atlantic Council think tank, Rogers said, “encryption is foundational to the future,” and cited the recent hack of the Office of Personnel Management as a reason to encourage encryption. “So spending time arguing about ‘hey, encryption is bad and we ought to do away with it’ … that’s a waste of time to me,” Rogers said. Rogers’s predecessor at the NSA, General Michael Hayden, also recently spoke out in favor of encryption (see “Former U.S. Intelligence Director Favors Encryption,” 14 January 2016).

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Apple Demanded Court Order from Widow to Recover Late Husband’s Password -- Apple’s focus on privacy is good but can sometimes carry unfortunate consequences. 72-year-old Peggy Bush tried to download a game to her iPad, but didn’t know her late husband’s Apple ID password. Her daughter dealt with Apple support for two months, providing serial numbers and legal documentation before being told that Apple required a court order to resolve the situation. In fact, according to Apple’s terms and conditions, accounts are not transferrable upon death and Apple may even terminate the account. Fortunately, Apple gave Bush access to the account after she reached out to CBC News and Apple CEO Tim Cook. This story illustrates why it’s important for families to have a plan for sharing key passwords, such as 1Password for Teams or at least a copy of 1Password’s master password in a safe-deposit box.

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Apple Releases Music Memos for iOS -- Apple has unveiled a new free app for musicians: Music Memos for iPhone and iPad. Unlike the built-in Voice Memos app, Music Memos is tailored toward musicians, with features like auto-record, backup players, and a pitch tuner. It’s a simple tool for quickly grabbing a recording to send to GarageBand or another audio-editing app.

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iOS 9.3 Adds Features for Education Market -- At MacStories, Fraser Speirs takes a look at new education-oriented features slated to appear in iOS 9.3. These features include a Shared iPad capability, a Classroom app for teachers, and Managed Apple IDs (via an Apple School Manager portal). With this upcoming release, Apple is both renewing its education focus in a big way and attempting to goose iPad sales, which have slowly but steadily declined in recent quarters. In education, in particular, Apple is worried about Chromebooks, which are cheaper, easier to share, easier to deploy, and have keyboards.

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