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Apple triples down on security by 'hiring' Stephen Colbert

In an amusing attempt to show just how seriously it takes security, Apple reveals comedian Stephen Colbert to be its new security czar. Was it just slightly tone deaf?

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Was presenting Stephen Colbert as Apple's new head of security funny or just a little gauche? CNET

Apple is far ahead of everyone on security. I know this because Tim Cook said so.

Yes, there was that flap with hundreds of naked images of female stars emerging through its cloud. And, well, indeed it seems that details of the new products announced today actually slipped out yesterday.

But, let's face it, security is just another word for trust. Or hope. Or the false idea that we can live forever.

In these times, whenever we slip into troubled areas, we have to laugh about it. So it was at Thursday's iPad event that Craig Federighi, Apple's witty software head, announced the company had hired a new, unimpeachable head of software: TV host Stephen Colbert.

The shtick was scripted, of course. Federighi looked down to read his lines more times than a politician making an apology.

Now playing: Watch this: Apple demos Continuity with call to Colbert
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Still, here was Colbert, aka Red Delicious, being called securely by Federighi, aka Granny Smith. Yes, they're apples.

In his new position, Colbert was being asked to review a presentation. His chief concern was, in fact, his new position. What should he be called? Was there anything grand enough?

Colbert favored "Supreme Allied Commander of Supersecrecy." Failing that, he wanted "Intergalactic Chancellor."

Colbert also went beyond his czardom to demand that Apple hurries up with its watch. He claimed he was "jonesing for some jewelry."

Many will find this exchange funny. Some, though, might see a tinge of the tone-deafness that accompanied the megalomaniacally gauche attempt by Apple to stuff a U2 album down everyone's laptops and phones.

If security is funny these days, it's dark humor. For too long, it's seemed that tech companies like to talk security, while one suspects they secretly snicker about its shortcomings.

This morning, the Guardian intimated that supposedly anonymous gossip app Whisper allegedly tracks its users around, even when they specifically ask it not to. Whisper also allegedly shares information with the Department of Defense.

Still, perhaps Apple's security improvements will, indeed, prove to be a step forward. On that idea, I'd say skepticism is the securest option.