Spy Lockout Shareholder Proposal To Be Raised At Apple Annual Meeting

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Apple Challenged To Resist NSA Surveillance by Restore the Fourth Shareholders

Apple can lead our industry’s escape from vast, wasteful surveillance and earn back the trust of users the world over.

At the annual Apple Inc. shareholder meeting today, shareholders will ask the Bay Area computer maker to take several policy and technical actions immediately, a Spy Lockout to protect the company against negative business impact from the NSA bulk surveillance scandal, reports constitutional rights organization Restore the Fourth San Francisco.

Apple shareholder, computer scientist, entrepreneur and Restore the Fourth member Dr. David Levitt, will offer the Spy Lockout proposal at the meeting. The shareholders present in Cupertino will vote on it. If Apple fails to act promptly, shareholders will follow up with a binding proxy action with a vote by all shareholders at a future meeting.

The shareholder proposal, which Apple has approved for introduction at the meeting, asks Apple to:
-- Revoke and update encryption keys that may have been compromised, to protect the security of user data
-- Remove interception devices used for mass surveillance to the greatest possible legal extent, and to pursue legal assistance towards this effort
-- Make it official policy that Apple should publicly reveal and actively investigate such surveillance and should not, actively or passively, agree to or allow covert mass surveillance against its customers, nor remain silent about what Apple and the government have done or are doing.

The Spy Lockout proposal was developed by Apple shareholders, developers, users, employees, and Restore the Fourth San Francisco Bay Area, with advice from Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Kurt Opsahl, encryption expert Bruce Schneier, Lavabit attorney Ian Samuel, and EFF founder John Gilmore.

The proposal states that user trust and ethical standards are essential to maintaining Apple’s share value. "Apple users and shareholders must understand whether Apple is a paid participant in unconstitutional bulk surveillance, a hapless victim of it, a gagged hostage of government spies, badly in need of help – or, whether Apple is truly an effective foe of such surveillance."

“Apple has a duty and an ability to be more transparent,” says Dr. Levitt. “No one believes the FBI will shut down Apple, or lock up Apple executives like Tim Cook and Al Gore, if they reveal more about government attempts to violate users’ constitutional rights and invade their privacy. It’s time for Apple to show it’s siding with its customers, not with criminals – government spies who, even their own friendly secret courts have ruled, lie to judges and violate the constitution.”

“The NSA’s reckless attacks on privacy and encryption are threatening Silicon Valley’s entire international cloud computing sector, as security professionals worldwide rethink working with US firms that have been compromised,” says Levitt. “Shareholders expect Apple to provide leadership. Amid security bugs, we can't also be keeping secrets about surveillance.”

This week Apple acknowledged flawed software it introduced in September 2012 that let Macs, iPhones and iPads be fooled by fraudulent sites. Weeks later, documents revealed by Edward Snowden and The Guardian show, the NSA internally reported that it had obtained direct access to Apple data for the PRISM surveillance program. Apple fixed the flaw this week but has not commented on how the NSA might have exploited it.

“For Apple’s sake, shareholders are expecting to see more transparency at this meeting,” says Levitt.

Restore the Fourth is a national organization that defends the Fourth Amendment and fights unconstitutional surveillance. Restore the Fourth SF is its San Francisco Bay Area chapter, which includes Silicon Valley. https://restorethefourthsf.com

For more information and the complete text of the Spy Lockout proposal, visit the Spy Lockout website at https://spylockout.org.

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Zaki Manian

David Levitt
Spy Lockout
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