Apple: FBI Wants Access To Many Different iPhones - InformationWeek

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2/24/2016
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Apple: FBI Wants Access To Many Different iPhones

Despite the FBI's insistence that it's focused on the San Bernardino terrorism case, authorities want access to more than one iPhone.

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In the name of protecting people from terrorism, the US government has gone to war against the private sector and its ability to build secure technology products. The Justice Department is seeking a court order to force Apple to create software that will enable FBI investigators to crack the password protecting encrypted data on an iPhone used by one of the shooters in last year's San Bernardino terrorist attack.

The FBI insists it is making a narrow legal demand that's relevant only to a specific case. "We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist's passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly," said FBI director James Comey in a statement. "That's it. We don't want to break anyone's encryption or set a master key loose on the land."

However, according to an Apple legal filing last week, law enforcement authorities have sought court orders to compel Apple to unlock at least a dozen other iPhones in nine cases working their way through US courts. In a list of FAQs posted on Apple's website, the company claims that law enforcement agents have said they have hundreds of phones they'd like to unlock.

Apple insists the FBI's demand is broad because it would establish a legal precedent that would allow similar demands to be made to any company or individual in the future. "If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone's device to capture their data," said CEO Tim Cook in a letter to Apple customers.

(Image: Mutlu_Kurtbas/iStock)

(Image: Mutlu_Kurtbas/iStock)

In a New York Times op-ed column published on Monday, New York Police Department Commissioner William Bratton and NYPD Intelligence and Counterterrorism Deputy Commissioner James J. Miller acknowledge, "The ramifications of this fight extend beyond San Bernardino." They assert that they're not asking for a back door. "Complying with constitutionally legal court orders is not 'creating a back door'; in a democracy, that is a front door."

But it remains unsettled whether or not the FBI's demand is lawful.

In a democracy, this door, whether framed as a front door or back door, is barred when authorities impose an "unreasonable burden." As George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr suggests in The Washington Post, the court system will have to decide whether the FBI's request represents an unreasonable burden. That won't be an easy decision. Kerr asks if that standard should reflect whether "the subject company has a business strategy that includes opposing government surveillance requests."

In short, is uncompromising security a legal product?

The American public narrowly favors the government. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 51% of US adults surveyed say Apple should unlock the iPhone to help the FBI. About 38% disagreed and 11% said they didn't know.

Present and former leaders of technology companies, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, have voiced support for Apple.

[Read Tim Cook vs. FBI: Why Apple Is Fighting the Good Fight.]

Technical experts largely appear to agree with Apple's characterization of the situation and of the risks compliance poses to its business. In a blog post last week, Jonathan Zdziarski, a computer security researcher and iOS forensics expert, explains that the FBI isn't asking Apple to provide the data on the iPhone in question. It's asking the company to create a forensics tool, which requires exposure of Apple's technology to third-parties.

Zdziarski goes on to suggest that the Justice Department's assertion that Apple will be able to keep its tool secret is disingenuous, because doing so would violate the norms of forensic science, where digital tools must be validated independently.

"Not only is Apple being ordered to compromise their own devices; they're being ordered to give that golden key to the government, in a very roundabout sneaky way," explains Zdziarski. "What FBI has requested will inevitably force Apple's methods out into the open, where they can be ingested by government agencies looking to do the same thing."

Indeed, if the US government can demand Apple's assistance, governments of China and Russia can be expected to seek similar service, not just from Apple, but from Google, Microsoft, and every other company.

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Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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shakeeb
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shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
2/29/2016 | 9:50:44 PM
Re: Did'nt John McAfee offer to do it for the FBI for Free?
Ohh never expected FBI to go through Apple user's personal information for any reason. To find one crime they might just go through almost all the phone data.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
2/29/2016 | 8:09:02 PM
National Security Access

 

While I understand the concern over privacy the government has access to every other private and public bit of information about individuals. They can monitor landline phones, internet communications, social media activity etc. In fact many companies do the same of their employees. While I understand the fight ultimately I think the government will win in the name of national security.

TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
2/29/2016 | 1:42:54 PM
Re: Democracy???
@Steve, I'm actually one of few people in office who ever voted Dem. All these guys who did it were GOP. So it isn't biased in kinds of questions it asks.

The reason I hit the way I did was because I left priority out of match. Where I stand on abortion weighed just the same as whether to go after ISIS on the ground, or regulate Wall Street more, or whether to lower Corp tax rate. That's what was interesting, just taking all policies on an equal footing how much common ground there is across everyone of them.

But most people aren't like that or vote like that. They have their big issue which sets their basic party alignment and everything else is just window dressing.

You are right on about lower politics coming first. You should see some local alderman we get in the city gov, and it only gets worse as you move up. Unfortunately, the way they draw districts now, this is not likely to change. Blue and Red are getting more defined every day.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
2/29/2016 | 1:31:10 PM
Re: Democracy???
Heh, that's funny... the little disclaimer probably said, paid for and developed by the DNC, huh? :)

But, yea, that's a tough choice. If we want more of the same, certainly Hillary and Cruz (in their respective camps). I think we know what we'd get with Bernie too, it's more a matter of whether that's a good thing. Trump, I just don't know. He's certainly the wild-card (and, that's his popularity, as people are incredibly sick of the same-ol, same-ol baloney).

Unfortunately, because this InfoWeek comment system is junk, I can't see what I previously wrote, but I think we've got a better shot at changing the system starting with Congress and more localized. Not that the president isn't important, but I think it steals too much of the spotlight from other just as important problems.

If I haven't mentioned it yet, check out Congressional Dish podcast, and you'll quickly see just how bad things are, regardless of who is in the White House.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
2/29/2016 | 1:16:17 PM
Re: Democracy???
Some of guys in office found an online survey that asks you questions on policy, and allows you to weight them like Not Important, Somewhat Important, Very Important, etc. It then shows you by pct where you allign with all candidates.

Not really knowing where any of these guys stand on anything (all they do is talk big picture on stuff, if even that), I took this with great curiousity. For full disclosure, I was an Obama voter in his two elections. I have voted for the first Bush and Reagan in the past.

I left priority out of any answer, took the middle Somewhat Important on every question. Here were results:

86% (agreement with) Bernie

83% Hillary

78% Rand Paul

73% O'Malley (the Dem who dropped out)

64% Trump (5th place)

The lowest match was Cruz at 46%. The takeaway for me was, policy wise, not big diff in Bernie and Hillary. The other was how Trump was so close to the two Dems on policies, in total. I was also surprised I agreed with Cruz on anything. :-)

My feelings about Trump are not policy based, more like apprehension @Steve talks about. It's a wild card knowing that guy has his finger on a nuclear trigger. For all Hillary's faults, she at least won't kill us all when Putin tells her to go pound sand on some issue. Sad thing is, in a normal year, no way I'd vote for Hillary. Doesn't look like I'll have choice this year.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2016 | 3:42:19 PM
Re: Democracy???
While I agree that Hillary would be really, really bad... more of the same only worse... I think we need more than just a wrecking ball. I think the idea that it's going to be fixed top-down is mistaken. We're going to have to elect good people Congress and Senate and eventually trickle up to the president (not that trying for a good president is a bad thing, but even with a good president, they'd be in such a broken system!).

My concern with Trump are a few things. First, the president has to have at least a bit of statesmen type capabilities. Maybe Trump can turn that on when he wants? But, I'm also not so sure, as he might be so ego-bound that this is just the way he is, and he's been able to get away with it for all these years because of who he is.... and that isn't a good thing!

Also, I have concerns over a number of issues and positions Trump holds, or if, in fact, he even knows why he holds his various positions. He doesn't seem very well thought through. That said, both the Republican and Democrat parties suffer from this complex, which is why I can no longer support either.

If it comes down to the the lesser evil, I'd have to think long and hard about whether to vote, or just sit it out.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2016 | 8:35:27 AM
Re: Democracy???
Steve,

Maybe America really needs some disrupting /Creative Destruction.

The embedded Crony-Capitalistic political elite in place in DC have ruined this Beautiful country for way too long.

What have we got from these so-called Stable Candidates over the last 3-4 decades here in America?

After yesterday's primary results its quite clear we are looking at a Clinton vs Trump General Election or as ,Edward Snowden called it last night-

"Trump vs Goldman Sachs for US President"?

 

 
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2016 | 12:13:35 PM
Re: Democracy???
Either Bernie or Trump might do some disrupting, etc. The question is whether how they would do so is a good thing and/or better than the corrupt mess of having any of the others.

While I don't know Trump, I've known people like him, and I'm not sure he even knows how crazy he is. And Bernie... my gosh, that *would* finish off the country for once and all.
Ashu001
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50%
Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2016 | 9:42:05 AM
Re: Democracy???
Steve,

Lets accept the fact that most Folks are lazy (intellectually) and hardly anybody does any research before Blindly believeing everything they watch on TV or read on the paper without even trying to understand the Context;especially when one realizes how Little Americans know about World History in general.

One of the Best examples was (this was before Obama became President) was this unneccesary Hostility of America towards Iran.

Because Bush Junior Says "Iran is a member of the Axis of Evil" so the American Administration caused an immense Amount of Suffering and Pain on ordinary Iranians.

When its the Iranians who have reason to be Mad at America.

How would you react if you were surrounded on all sides by an Opposing Hostile Militiary Force (which is Iran's Situation today-America has militiary bases on all its Borders);

Or, have a Civilian Airline was blown up in Mid-Air by the US Navy because they felt like it                       (www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2014/07/the_vincennes_downing_of_iran_air_flight_655_the_united_states_tried_to.html)

 

Or,had a Democratically Elected Government overthrown because some rich people in the US and UK wanted to keep on Bilking Iran's rightful resources without any checks and Balances(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat) & replaced them with a Puppet of the CIA???

Or,you switch Sides in whom you support just because someone throws a few more dollars at you?

(This same sceanario also applies to Iraq-Who heaved a massive sigh of relief when they realized that the Bush Dynasty won't be making a comeback with Jeb Bush pulling out of the Race).

I could go on and on and on.

If Ordinary Americans only realized what Monsters members of their Government have unleashed Globally(Osama Bin Laden was a CIA Creation who then went rogue);the world would have been a much-much Safer place for all concerned.

I for one am not surprised that Iran hates the American Government so much(I would too if I was in the same position as the Iranians).

 
Ashu001
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50%
Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2016 | 9:04:44 AM
Re: Democracy???
Terry,

The way I look at it;a vote for either of these 2 candidates is a Vote against the Status Quo mentality that has inflicted DC all these years.

And about time too!

Somebody needed to step up to the plate and deliver;which they will if either of these 2 candidates wins.

I agree with all your other points as well.

 
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