25 thoughts on “Say What You Will About Apple…

  1. While I encourage Apple to fight this intrusion into our private, I make no doubt their motivation is the protection of their technology, not our privacy.

    Which is fine as long as both those goals mesh.

  2. Given that they can’t even keep the personnel records of the DHS private from hackers, this is probably a good thing. On the flip side, one wonders how well people can cover their tracks if they want to. I am guessing–as with the numerous scandals of the Obama administration, etc..–that it really all comes down to “will your friends talk about your sins?”. The sad thing is I’m seeing a lot more people willing to cover up for this sort of thing.

  3. I can understand Apple’s resistance if the court order is for all iPhones but if the order is for a specific iPhone that was used in a terrorist attack, who is Apple protecting? Now that Apple has announced to the world that if you are using an iPhone in pursuit of criminal opportunities your privacy will be protected, I guess we know which will be the preferred cell phone for criminals and terrorists.

  4. It seems to me this is more of a rejection of the notion that Apple Inc. is a slave to the federal government, and that it must pursue development and produce product at the courts whim.

  5. Mitch thank you creating this thread and I do apologize for jacking the other one.

    Nerd, thank you for your insights. What I do not get is this: “Judge Pym ordered Apple to build special software that would essentially act as a skeleton key capable of unlocking the phone. Feds should be able to hand the phone to Apple, ask them to unlock it and be happy when they get the data off the phone no matter how it is done. What makes FBI or anybody in the government, least of all some wonk judge, experts to tell Apple or anyone else HOW to do it, never mind the other stuff. And no, Apple’s grandstanding notwithstanding, I do not for a minute buy that they cannot unlock that phone without complying with the order. And last but least, how inept is Intelligence community if they could not unlock that phone themselves? How far have we fallen under the brave and intrepid leadership of the current administration? It is as if 0bumbler is bent on dismantling our defenses trying to lose the next cold war before it even begins! There must be more to this story. Much more.

  6. So, Mitch, in the name of privacy, you would be just fine if someone you know and love was the victim of subsequent terrorist acts, which could be prevented had this i-phone info been available?

    Because while I do share your concern over privacy, where there is a case of established terrorists I don’t feel they should be afforded that protection.

    If this were a less clear case of legitimate government interest in what is on this specific phone, I’d see more reason to applaud Apple; but not this instance.

    I think Emery is on target here, and that your ideology is in danger of exceeding reason. But I’m sure you’d blame the Obama administration and all agencies of the federal government if NOT getting the information led to an attack; I have yet to see conservatives own when their positions are harmful.

  7. Mitch, and sorry for sounding the dog whistle… But then DG never failed not to answer the call to argue for total goobernment takeover of every facet of people’s lives, just like a good commie she is. Security is but a means to an end.

  8. BG said on the other thread: So what is stopping the government from making a million images of the IPhone memory and hacking each one with a sliced brute force attack? That’s what I would do.

    BG, you and nerd apparently are much smarter then most of goobernment intelligence community. Please note, no sarcasm tag.

  9. chain of custody is one of the issues
    no defense lawyer is going to allow a piece of software(the skeleton key) to provide testimony/evidence with out that “software” providing proof in court that through every step of the process that no “foreign” information makes its way into the final product/evidence. No defense attorney worth anything would just take Apple’s word.

    DNA evidence is accepted because an expert can if necessary walk a jury through every step of the process – doing the same for Apple’s skeleton key in open court would give the specification to the world.

  10. It’s one thing is ask Apple to provide the information contained in the phone, basically handing the phone to Apple to extract all data, and quite another ito ask Apple to build software to bypass the phones’ encryption. I think Apple can agree to the former, but not to the latter. I guess my phone is more secure than I thought.

    If nothing else, Apple has cornered the market on jihadists worldwide.

  11. There is a bitter irony in that Dog Gone is OK with the government having a key to unlock all of our privacy on our cell phones, but when it comes to treating actual terrorists as terrorists at Club Gitmo, she’s all against that.

    Got it; the left does not value the privacy of the law abiding, but it does stand for the rights of former Gitmo prisoners like Ibrahim Al Qosi, now the chief mouthpiece of AQAP.

  12. CF, I understand your reasoning. However in this case, who cares about chain of custody? Corpses will not stand trial. Whatever is on that phone should not result in any legal action. Only action action.

  13. JPA the neighbor who bought the guns is scheduled for trial and likely some of the other contacts would be revealed as co-conspirators via the decrypted Iphone messages.
    as others have pointed out using a server farm with VM software to brute force the password would be preferable and would leave everyone else’s privacy intact(relativel).

  14. It’s worth noting that the government has required a “pin register” of all numbers called since 1977. So unless people are going to internet based messaging, then you will get a great portion of the person’s contacts.

    For that matter, wasn’t this sort of thing exactly what that huge NSA database was created to deal with?

  15. That “special piece of software” that the government is asking for is essentially an OTA update that bypasses the erase feature. That’s a dangerous feature that essentially makes the encryption feature useless since nobody is going to enter a 128 byte passcode everything they want to access their phone.

    But I can see why Apple is objecting:

    1) The government is ordering them to do work for them without compensation and by applying a 1700s law of dubious applicability.
    2) Said software will certainly not be used just once.
    3) Having created it once, the US government will certainly demand it be updated with every version of iOS for some heinous case.
    4) The government is worse at keeping secrets than Apple. Once Apple lets the software loose, it WILL go wild eventually. I’d bet that Russia and China get a copy in 6 months or less, either by espionage or hacking.

    The government really can’t create that kind of program itself. It would need Apple’s signing key to do that, and I don’t think that they’d get that on First/Fourth Amendment grounds. So it seems strange that the government is asking Apple to do this, but (a) the government can’t hack into this without Apple’s key and the courts have generally held that the government can’t force you to give that up and (b) they have this “All Writs Act” that they think they can use to force Apple to do all their work for them. If Scalia was still on the court, I suspect he’d have shot down the government in a heartbeat. But as we’ve seen in the past, the liberal wing of the court is only interested in the privacy of a uterus, anything else is fair game.

    But the gold standard would be for the government to build a hardware emulator to get around these problems by imaging the flash chips. They’re not protected by anything other than the encryption of the data on them. At which point you could build an FPGA emulator and brute force the password. Since most user’s passwords are 4 digits, that’s almost laughingly fast once you’ve built the emulator. A good reverse engineering team should be able to do that in probably 6 months or so, even without Apple’s help, but once built it would take seconds to crack the encryption.

    Now you see why Apple did the wipe trick: if you’re talking about a 4 digit password you’re only talking 1000 combinations. Even a 6 digit passcode isn’t much better without the protection of the wipe after 10 fails.

    Aside: flash memory chips are pretty lousy at using randomization techniques to hide data. Due to how you have to do writes (generally in 64K or larger blocks, as compared to 4K in disks), and the fact that flash chips die after 10K writes or so, the data on them tends to be much more locally contiguous, making for easier cracking.

  16. A guy was murdered in a house in California so I need a passkey to his front door to search for clues, a passkey that will open every front door on every house in America forever, a passkey that I’ll copy and distribute to all my friends and leave laying around for others to steal.

    You won’t give it to me? Why not? Why are you protecting a murderer? How will you feel when someone you love is murdered?

  17. I’d bet that Russia and China get a copy in 6 months or less, either by espionage or hacking.

    6 months? Barking Shrillery server anyone? If FBI were serious about getting into the phone and going after the terrorists the Mitch Rapp way, they would not care about chain of custody. And I still do not believe Apple is being totally forthcoming. As JD and every other sane person here, I would not trust current goobernment with a cheese slicer, never mind an encryption key to protect my privacy – Barking Shrillery server anyone? There is a lot more to this story.

  18. JPA, I agree. While the Feds are pushing this as a “solution” you should be very suspicious about the case they’re using to drive it. It’s about the most sympathetic case they can find for getting their way. I strongly suspect a bigger agenda here.

    But I don’t see how “chain of custody” arguments work in this case. Suppose you are a defense lawyer and Apple ups a program that unlocks the phone. My cross examination of the FBI forensics agent would go something like:
    1) How did you get access to the phone?
    2) Oh, Apple software. A huge piece of software at that. That the company didn’t want to make and only made after you forced them to do so. What kind of quality checks did they run? How did they audit the software changes? How can you be certain that nobody in Apple slipped in a backdoor to plant evidence on the phone?
    3) You can’t, because you can’t audit their software? So how do you know that nothing was planted on there?

    It’s similar to the problems folks have with DUI software in Breathalyzers. When you look at their code anyone into coding will be appalled at how bad it is (yes, it’s horrible and that’s really why they want to hide it). At least with Breathalyzers you can argue that blood tests show that a given machine is accurate at some given point and time. It’s worse in the case of the FBI because they don’t even have access to Apple’s source code so there’s absolutely no way to check for bugs. . That special Apple program couldn’t even do a cross check without violating the gov’t promise of using it “just this once.”, It’s a “trust me, this works” situation and that certainly doesn’t rise above “reasonable doubt”, especially for a company that’s cooperating only under duress.

  19. Where is John Harvey when you need him? Told you there was more to the story. I think the following headline says it all:

    Apple unlocked at least 70 iPhones before refusal …as late as last year.

    While I don’t agree that gooverbnment should have a backdoor, Apple proves yet again they are a bunch of sanctimonious, self-righteous, hypocritical turds.

  20. Apple proves yet again they are a bunch of sanctimonious, self-righteous, hypocritical turds.
    I keep telling Apple fans that, as a publicly traded company, Apple has one purpose as far as its owners (stockholders) are concerned:
    Make money.
    I’m speaking for Adam Smith, here.
    Do not romanticize businessmen. The free market system forces them to care only about money. That is what makes Ayn Rand a joke, and not a philosopher.

  21. Rand is not a philosopher, but hardly a joke and definitely a foreteller. However, people who take her work for philosophy are indeed jokes.

  22. John McAfee, a computer security pioneer, has offered to crack a phone belong to a San Bernardino shooter free of charge in just three weeks – if the agency drops its “back door” order to Apple, which he says is “the beginning of the end of the US.” “I work with a team of the best hackers on the planet,” McAfee wrote in an op-ed on Business Insider. “I will, free of charge, decrypt the information on the San Bernardino phone, with my team.”

    FBI and Apple are fucking jokes playing tiddlywinks with our security. There is a lot more to this story.

  23. Turgid is the word I use to describe Rand’s fiction. I do not trust any who cite her work as an inspiration for political reform. Anyone who finds her characters heroic, rather than cartoonishly one dimensional, doesn’t have a lot of depth to their understanding of humanity.

  24. Well, well, well… It seems password on the phone was changed while in goobernment’s possession so they can’t back up to the icloud. How convenient! There is more to the story.

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