Apple vows to fight federal order to unlock iPhone

Blayde

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For years, the government could come to Apple with a subpoena and a phone, and have the manufacturer provide a disk image of the device. This largely worked because Apple didn?t have to hack into their phones to do this. Up until iOS 8, the encryption Apple chose to use in their design was easily reversible when you had code execution on the phone (which Apple does). So all through iOS 7, Apple only needed to insert the key into the safe and provide FBI with a copy of the data.

This service worked like a ?black box?, and while Apple may have needed to explain their methods in court at some point, they were more likely considered a neutral third party lab as most forensics companies would be if you sent them a DNA sample. The level of validation and accountability here is relatively low, and methods can often be opaque; that is, Apple could simply claim that the tech involved was a trade secret, and gotten off without much more than an explanation. An engineer at Apple could hack up a quick and dirty tool to dump disk, and nobody would need to ever see it because they were providing a lab service and were considered more or less trade secrets.

Now lets contrast that history with what FBI and the courts are ordering Apple to do here. FBI could have come to Apple with a court order stating they must brute force the PIN on the phone and deliver the contents. It would have been difficult to get a judge to sign off on that, since this quite boldly exceeds the notion of ?reasonable assistance? to hack into your own devices. No, to slide this by, FBI was more clever. They requested that Apple developed a forensics tool but did not do the actual brute force themselves.
http://www.zdziarski.com/blog/?p=5645 for the whole article, just picked the relevant bit
 

prizrak

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How does the license matter? Regardless, both are fully available on-line for the world to see and contribute to.

Major open source projects have had huge security bugs exist in plain sight for years and no one noticed. The latest Glibc vulnerability for instance existed for 8 years. In large projects even thousands of eyes miss things.
BSD can have closed source built in, Linux can't (it can link to blobs but not have them in the kernel). Yep it can take a while but I think new code is more closely scrutinized than older stuff especially kernel.
 

laxmax613

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I'm interested in whether this will lead to a test case going to the SCOTUS. My feeling is that the left-leaning potential nominees we expect the president to be interested in are also the same group who would be interested in protecting right to privacy in this case. If that is the case, is the president going to look for someone like that? (Leave aside the issues about confirmation by a GOP Senate)
 

Firecat

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Well, the Obama administration is on the side of the FBI.
 

ahpadt

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Doesn't the administration strictly administrate the FBI anyway?
 
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prizrak

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Apple vows to fight federal order to unlock iPhone

In theory they are independent, president is commander-in-chief of the armed forces but FBI is law enforcement so presumably they are only beholden to follow federal laws but not the specific administration
 

laxmax613

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In theory they are independent, president is commander-in-chief of the armed forces but FBI is law enforcement so presumably they are only beholden to follow federal laws but not the specific administration
The FBI is an agency of the federal government. it answers to the president to a degree but its purpose is really governed by statues set by the legislature. It is more likely to execute policy in accordance with the positions held by the executive, but it also is composed of individuals whose tenure is not set by the lifespan of any particular administration.

Ain't the structure of our government grand?
 

kunedog

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Back in 2010 the Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania was caught remotely spying on students in their homes, through the webcams of mandatory school-issued macbooks. It's tough to think of a more egregious (and systematic) violation of privacy, especially against victims more well-protected by the letter of the law (i.e. minors).

So what happened when the FBI investigated? Did they round up the architects and perpetrators of the secret, long-running child porn acquisition network, and throw the "think of the children" book at them, subjecting them to federal prosecution, prison time and sex offender registries?

Nope, all the school employees walked, because prosecutors couldn't show "criminal intent." Funny how many teenagers taking nude selfies get put on sex offender registries without the benefit of that excuse.

Anyway, the point is that it's hard to believe there isn't some underhanded influence between different executive agencies. Wouldn't it have been an awkward precedent for the FBI to throw government employees in prison for secretly spying on citizens, only for Snowden to expose the NSA doing the same (but exponentially worse) thing a few years later? Do you think you, personally, could have installed webcam-spying software on your laptop, rented it out to to a child, took hundreds of pictures, and then walked?
 

argatoga

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BSD can have closed source built in, Linux can't (it can link to blobs but not have them in the kernel). Yep it can take a while but I think new code is more closely scrutinized than older stuff especially kernel.
I'm neither a Linux or BSD fanboy and have nothing to gain with arguing with one.
 

prizrak

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I'm neither a Linux or BSD fanboy and have nothing to gain with arguing with one.
Eh? Dafuq you talking about? My "daily" is a Mac and work machine is Linux only because I'm not exec or dev so they don't give me a Mac.

I'm talking about basic difference between GPL and BSD licenses, BSD allows closed source derivative code and GPL doesn't, which is why driver support is such a problem in Linux in the first place. All I'm saying is that with the scrutiny every new kernel release/patch gets sneaking backdoors in is pretty difficult.
 

rickhamilton620

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Back in 2010 the Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania was caught remotely spying on students in their homes, through the webcams of mandatory school-issued macbooks. It's tough to think of a more egregious (and systematic) violation of privacy, especially against victims more well-protected by the letter of the law (i.e. minors).

So what happened when the FBI investigated? Did they round up the architects and perpetrators of the secret, long-running child porn acquisition network, and throw the "think of the children" book at them, subjecting them to federal prosecution, prison time and sex offender registries?

Nope, all the school employees walked, because prosecutors couldn't show "criminal intent." Funny how many teenagers taking nude selfies get put on sex offender registries without the benefit of that excuse.

Anyway, the point is that it's hard to believe there isn't some underhanded influence between different executive agencies. Wouldn't it have been an awkward precedent for the FBI to throw government employees in prison for secretly spying on citizens, only for Snowden to expose the NSA doing the same (but exponentially worse) thing a few years later? Do you think you, personally, could have installed webcam-spying software on your laptop, rented it out to to a child, took hundreds of pictures, and then walked?
Ugh that case. It painted all K-12 IT Depts (esp. in PA) in a terrible light. We pretty much expect tape, stickers, labels from fruit, etc. over the webcams of any computers we deploy to teachers. It's not even worth bothering mentioning that we can disable the camera completely in the BIOS instead of defacing the hardware (try scraping off a year's worth of dried up adhesive over a sensitive camera lens) - the trust is that broken. For what it's worth, the only security software we install in our image is Microsoft Endpoint Security (Microsoft Security Essentials/Windows Defender).

The ironic thing is, I cannot blame them one iota. It's entirely justified after what happened at Lower Merion.
 
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Firecat

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Bill Gates on the opposite side of Apple, Google and various other techs

https://www.yahoo.com/news/bill-gates-sides-fbi-ongoing-iphone-hacking-saga-121548764.html

?This is a specific case where the government is asking for access to information,? Gates explained. ?They are not asking for some general thing, they are asking for a particular case. It is no different than [the question of] should anybody ever have been able to tell the phone company to get information, should anybody be able to get at bank records. Let?s say the bank had tied a ribbon round the disk drive and said ?don?t make me cut this ribbon because you?ll make me cut it many times?.?
I think it's terribly naive to assume the government won't make you comply with other requests once you open the door. Here's a WSJ article about another 12 cases unrelated to terrorism in which the government is trying to get them to unlock phones

http://www.wsj.com/article_email/ju...-iphones-1456202213-lMyQjAxMTI2MjIzMzMyMTMwWj
 

rickhamilton620

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It is naive. Even more naive is the court of public opinion if the (admittedly flawed) polling are to be believed: http://www.npr.org/sections/alltech...uld-help-fbi-unlock-terrorism-suspects-iphone

Another thing. This phone was his work issued device. What halfway decent IT department just hands you a phone without having it connected to a MDM solution?

Even the most basic of MDM solutions allows the IT Dept to clear passcodes.

I suspect someone in the San Bernardino IT department is looking for a new job right about now...
 

LeVeL

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Back in 2010 the Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania was caught remotely spying on students in their homes, through the webcams of mandatory school-issued macbooks. It's tough to think of a more egregious (and systematic) violation of privacy, especially against victims more well-protected by the letter of the law (i.e. minors).

So what happened when the FBI investigated? Did they round up the architects and perpetrators of the secret, long-running child porn acquisition network, and throw the "think of the children" book at them, subjecting them to federal prosecution, prison time and sex offender registries?

Nope, all the school employees walked, because prosecutors couldn't show "criminal intent." Funny how many teenagers taking nude selfies get put on sex offender registries without the benefit of that excuse.

Anyway, the point is that it's hard to believe there isn't some underhanded influence between different executive agencies. Wouldn't it have been an awkward precedent for the FBI to throw government employees in prison for secretly spying on citizens, only for Snowden to expose the NSA doing the same (but exponentially worse) thing a few years later? Do you think you, personally, could have installed webcam-spying software on your laptop, rented it out to to a child, took hundreds of pictures, and then walked?
I don't remember it was the same case or a different one but under US law these kids have no expectation of privacy while using a school-owned computer. Basically the school can do whatever they want with their property even if you take it home with you. In this particular case that sounds insane but a contrary ruling could set a dangerous precedent.
 

kunedog

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Anyone still believe there are anti-surveillance candidates left?

http://money.cnn.com/2016/02/26/technology/republican-debate-apple/
Carson, Cruz and Rubio agree with Obama on Apple during GOP debate
Ben Carson said:
I think allowing a terrorist to get away with things is bad for America.

You know, we have a Constitution. We have a Fourth Amendment. We have mechanisms in place with the judicial system that will allow us to gain material that is necessary to benefit the nation as a whole or the community as a whole.
Ted Cruz said:
Yes, Apple should be forced to comply with this court order. Why? Because under the Fourth Amendment, a search and seizure is reasonable if it has judicial authorization and probable cause. In this instance, the order is not to put a back door in everyone's cell phone.

If that was the order, that order would be problematic because it would compromise security and safety for everyone. I would agree with Apple on that broad policy question.
Marco Rubio said:
The only thing [Apple's] being asked to do, and the FBI made this very clear about 48 hours ago, is allow us to disable the self-destruct mode that's in the Apple phone so that we can try to guess using our own systems what the password of this killer was. And I think they should comply with that. If that's all they're asking for, they are not asking for Apple to create a back door to encryption.

But Apple doesn't want to do it because they think it hurts their brand. Well, let me tell you, their brand is not superior to the national security of the United States of America.

And also:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/26/u...sharing-of-data-that-nsa-intercepts.html?_r=1
Obama Administration Set to Expand Sharing of Data That N.S.A. Intercepts
The change would relax longstanding restrictions on access to the contents of the phone calls and email the security agency vacuums up around the world, including bulk collection of satellite transmissions, communications between foreigners as they cross network switches in the United States, and messages acquired overseas or provided by allies.
Civil liberties advocates criticized the change, arguing that it will weaken privacy protections. They said the government should disclose how much American content the N.S.A. collects incidentally ? which agency officials have said is hard to measure ? and let the public debate what the rules should be for handling that information.

?Before we allow them to spread that information further in the government, we need to have a serious conversation about how to protect Americans? information,? said Alexander Abdo, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer.
If you're wondering how Obama's stance on surveillance could have changed so much since his campaign promises, well, it didn't. Even as a Senator (in summer of 2008, the middle of his campaign), he voted to grant the telecoms immunity for their illegal, warrantless, government-sanctioned spying.

Recall his response immediately after the Snowden revelations, which were much harder to find than most of his speeches on the YT channel. It starts about 12 minutes in with no indication whatsoever in the title. His comments take up at least half of the video so here's a brief summary: Bush was right.

[video=youtube;p73wK92R-0E]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p73wK92R-0E[/video]
 

prizrak

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No government ever release power that it got no matter what, when was the last time we had any law that gave anyone MORE freedom.
 
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