Apple Refuses FBI Demand to Build a "Backdoor" For iPhones

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Apple Refuses FBI Demand to Build a "Backdoor" For iPhones

iPhone

Apple CEO Tim Cook has exposed an FBI request to build a government backdoor for Apple products.

"The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers," wrote Apple CEO Tim Cook on the company's official website. "We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand." He continued to explain that the FBI, in relation to the San Bernardino terrorist attack investigations, had effectively asked Apple to give the spy agency a global backdoor to all of its products.

"Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software - which does not exist today - would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone's physical possession."

"While the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control."

Cook argues that customers privacy is more important than government backdoors, and calls the FBI out on its bullying tactics by making the demand public. He specifically describes the implications of the agency's demand as "chilling."

"Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government."

Source: Apple

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I really don't get why the FBI is trying to pull this in this particular case. It should be effortlessly easy to just get a warrant and subpoena the contents of the phone through purely legal means. There are all kinds of forensic programs law enforcement can use, and with a proper warrant even Apple itself could help crack that particular phone if needed.

Pushing for some kind of broad backdoor built into the OS itself though? That is so dumb. Props to Apple for publicly outing their request and refusing to comply with it. Hopefully the government doesn't just ram this through anyway like they did with a lot of the CIA's surveillance stuff.

Kudos to Apple.

I always thought that things like this were myths, like Area 51.

How stupid and outdated could the FBI possibly be?

On one hand yay for privacy but on the other hand this is a criminal investigation, which leads me to agree with this statement:

rcs619:
It should be effortlessly easy to just get a warrant and subpoena the contents of the phone through purely legal means.

When I first heard about this I was quite pissed at Apple until I thought it through. There's already readily available applications out there that give the ability to send encrypted messages across multiple platforms so this isn't exactly a first. While I still dislike a great deal of Apple products, I certainly respect them for this.

rcs619:
I really don't get why the FBI is trying to pull this in this particular case. It should be effortlessly easy to just get a warrant and subpoena the contents of the phone through purely legal means. There are all kinds of forensic programs law enforcement can use, and with a proper warrant even Apple itself could help crack that particular phone if needed.

Have you read the article? That's exactly what happened. The FBI can't crack it, asked Apple for help, Apple refused, and now a district judge has ruled that Apple has to comply.

Given that the owners are dead and when alive shot up a place, i think it would be wise to work on a case by case basis. Proven terrorist? Hack the data. Not quite sure what's going on? Make a case against cooperating.

rcs619:
I really don't get why the FBI is trying to pull this in this particular case. It should be effortlessly easy to just get a warrant and subpoena the contents of the phone through purely legal means.

I would have thought the answer is obvious, it's not this phone they're overly interested in breaking into, it's the next phone.

Once you have that software, you can copy it, you can install it on anything you want. Why wait for legal due process when oh look the phone isn't locked, fancy that. Given the FBI's long and storied history of illegal surveillance this isn't exactly a surprise, the ghost of J.Edgar still stalks the halls it would seem.

Nimcha:
Have you read the article? That's exactly what happened. The FBI can't crack it, asked Apple for help, Apple refused, and now a district judge has ruled that Apple has to comply.

Not quite. The FBI didn't simply ask Apple to unlock the phone, they asked Apple to provide software that would allow the FBI to unlock any Iphone they felt like. That's a bit further reaching, it also doesn't account for the use of third party software that Apple may not be able to easily decrypt themselves.

This is all well and good on Apple's behalf, i commend this greatly. What is worrying though, is the silence from Microsoft, which leads me to believe they not only comply with the FBI, they lay down on their backs for tummy rubs and cuddles too. The xbone owners must be prized US free-range citizens.
Although the full story is the FBI want it for one pbone, but Tim Cook mentions once they have that software, there is no longer any garuntee of anybody's phone staying secure or what the Feds will use it for after. He wants it open to public debate apparently.
Got to say though, pretty good marketing for Apple here. I don't mean that in a cynical sense either, as i am now looking upon my android phone with the shameful look of a parent who caught their child stealing money from the safe.

This article is more than a little disingenuous, to say the least, because it's not the FBI ordering Apple but a court of Law. A Federal Judge has issued a warrant ordering Apple to decrypt a phone of man that killed 14 people in an ISIS inspired attack. I strongly suggest the article be edited with the truth

http://www.cultofmac.com/412738/apple-must-unlock-the-iphone-5cs-encryption-or-else/
http://www.macrumors.com/2016/02/16/apple-ordered-unlock-san-bernardino-iphone/
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/18/technology/apple-timothy-cook-fbi-san-bernardino.html?_r=0
http://www.neowin.net/news/apple-wont-comply-with-federal-court-order-to-unlock-shooters-iphone-modify-ios

Of course the FBI would abuse it, they have a proven track record with this kind of thing.

Nimcha:

rcs619:
I really don't get why the FBI is trying to pull this in this particular case. It should be effortlessly easy to just get a warrant and subpoena the contents of the phone through purely legal means. There are all kinds of forensic programs law enforcement can use, and with a proper warrant even Apple itself could help crack that particular phone if needed.

Have you read the article? That's exactly what happened. The FBI can't crack it, asked Apple for help, Apple refused, and now a district judge has ruled that Apple has to comply.

Yeah, I refuse to believe the FBI can't crack an iPhone. The CIA can hack into peoples' webcams and turn off the indicator light so that no one knows that it's even on. Also, there's a difference between cracking one phone and asking for Apple to design an OS with a backdoor built in. For my concerns with that, I'll quote another guy in the thread.

fix-the-spade:

Once you have that software, you can copy it, you can install it on anything you want. Why wait for legal due process when oh look the phone isn't locked, fancy that. Given the FBI's long and storied history of illegal surveillance this isn't exactly a surprise, the ghost of J.Edgar still stalks the halls it would seem.

If Apple is given full access during the investigation and we can somehow include safeguards that make sure that the FBI won't just make a copy of the modified OS and ship it around to a dozen different servers they own to tinker with later... the no. They don't get a specially-modified phone just handed to them with 100% access.

It can't be that hard to just disable all the phone's built-in security systems and set everything to read-only for the FBI to sift through. There's got to be a way to do it that will *only* apply to the phone they've got a warrant for.

Maybe have Apple give them their backdoor-OS, but then immediately put out a patch to all other iPhones to immunize them against it? Not sure if the FBI still couldn't modify that backdoor OS later to circumvent the patch eventually though. I'm no programmer.

You know your country is rotten to the core when you can't trust the people who are sworn to keep you safe to keep you safe.

Having a back door to a electronic data storage device is a good thing. We aren't talking about an open source situation but a criminal investigation tool.

Like it or not but Smartphones are the new journal, tablet, scheduler, data storage and networking devices. To have so much information locked away from a criminal investigation team is going to hamper their ability to efficiently and economically do their job.

Not granting the justice system the ability to investigate this data storage is foolish.

But they probably said yes to the NSA...

Nimcha:

rcs619:
I really don't get why the FBI is trying to pull this in this particular case. It should be effortlessly easy to just get a warrant and subpoena the contents of the phone through purely legal means. There are all kinds of forensic programs law enforcement can use, and with a proper warrant even Apple itself could help crack that particular phone if needed.

Have you read the article? That's exactly what happened. The FBI can't crack it, asked Apple for help, Apple refused, and now a district judge has ruled that Apple has to comply.

Nooo, Apple CAN'T crack it. They're also refusing to purposefully build in backdoors to future iterations. The fact of the matter is the US govt., if they're willing to expend the resources, has the tech to crack the device, but it would probably cost at least 5 million dollars and take 2 years.

Nice to see Apple cares more about 'customer privacy' than helping protect against terrorism. But hey, apparently most people can't quite grasp the fact the government doesn't give a shit about your info, provided you are not doing illegal.

rcs619:

If Apple is given full access during the investigation and we can somehow include safeguards that make sure that the FBI won't just make a copy of the modified OS and ship it around to a dozen different servers they own to tinker with later... the no. They don't get a specially-modified phone just handed to them with 100% access.

It can't be that hard to just disable all the phone's built-in security systems and set everything to read-only for the FBI to sift through. There's got to be a way to do it that will *only* apply to the phone they've got a warrant for.

Maybe have Apple give them their backdoor-OS, but then immediately put out a patch to all other iPhones to immunize them against it? Not sure if the FBI still couldn't modify that backdoor OS later to circumvent the patch eventually though. I'm no programmer.

ravenshrike:
Nooo, Apple CAN'T crack it. They're also refusing to purposefully build in backdoors to future iterations. The fact of the matter is the US govt., if they're willing to expend the resources, has the tech to crack the device, but it would probably cost at least 5 million dollars and take 2 years.

Oh for godsake its not a modified OS or cracking its just Apple changing the password and telling the FBI the new password.

albino boo:

rcs619:

If Apple is given full access during the investigation and we can somehow include safeguards that make sure that the FBI won't just make a copy of the modified OS and ship it around to a dozen different servers they own to tinker with later... the no. They don't get a specially-modified phone just handed to them with 100% access.

It can't be that hard to just disable all the phone's built-in security systems and set everything to read-only for the FBI to sift through. There's got to be a way to do it that will *only* apply to the phone they've got a warrant for.

Maybe have Apple give them their backdoor-OS, but then immediately put out a patch to all other iPhones to immunize them against it? Not sure if the FBI still couldn't modify that backdoor OS later to circumvent the patch eventually though. I'm no programmer.

ravenshrike:
Nooo, Apple CAN'T crack it. They're also refusing to purposefully build in backdoors to future iterations. The fact of the matter is the US govt., if they're willing to expend the resources, has the tech to crack the device, but it would probably cost at least 5 million dollars and take 2 years.

Oh for godsake its not a modified OS or cracking its just Apple changing the password and telling the FBI the new password.

It's not the screen lock. The phone itself is encrypted with a separate password that apple cannot reset without wiping the phone.

chocolate pickles:
Nice to see Apple cares more about 'customer privacy' than helping protect against terrorism. But hey, apparently most people can't quite grasp the fact the government doesn't give a shit about your info, provided you are not doing illegal.

"If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear"
That's a very old and flawed ideal. Even if in most individual cases, the right to privacy from government is irrelevant, its massively important to have as a society. Your right to privacy is your right to yourself, the right to choose what other people can know about you without cause. You might as well submit all your letters, email and web activity to the government as well, you're probably not doing anything illegal, so whats the problem?

The Bucket:

chocolate pickles:
Nice to see Apple cares more about 'customer privacy' than helping protect against terrorism. But hey, apparently most people can't quite grasp the fact the government doesn't give a shit about your info, provided you are not doing illegal.

"If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear"
That's a very old and flawed ideal. Even if in most individual cases, the right to privacy from government is irrelevant, its massively important to have as a society. Your right to privacy is your right to yourself, the right to choose what other people can know about you without cause. You might as well submit all your letters, email and web activity to the government as well, you're probably not doing anything illegal, so whats the problem?

There isn't one. I would do that. You, on the other hand, seem quite opposed to it. Do you have something to hide?

It's not a flawed idea. It is complete common sense. Unfortunately, lots of people like to think the government is out to get them.

chocolate pickles:
lots of people like to think the government is out to get them.

Whistle blowers, watchdogs, activists, demonstration organisers, and political opponents for damn sure. If you were to say that they could receive special privilege to privacy to ensure that they could not be impeded, blackmailed, or pressured by governments or companies through lobbying then who makes the distinction, who grants them that freedom? Furthermore, sure, you might not be doing anything illegal but that is not always the case forever and with things constantly being made illegal like a recent ban on sodomy in one of the states you can bet your ass (pun intended) that someone somewhere would love to use that law against someone they do not like personally, professionally, or politically, and having unimpeded access to your phone is the surefire way to get that information. Information is power and it can and will be abused, if not now but in the future.

chocolate pickles:

The Bucket:

chocolate pickles:
Nice to see Apple cares more about 'customer privacy' than helping protect against terrorism. But hey, apparently most people can't quite grasp the fact the government doesn't give a shit about your info, provided you are not doing illegal.

"If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear"
That's a very old and flawed ideal. Even if in most individual cases, the right to privacy from government is irrelevant, its massively important to have as a society. Your right to privacy is your right to yourself, the right to choose what other people can know about you without cause. You might as well submit all your letters, email and web activity to the government as well, you're probably not doing anything illegal, so whats the problem?

There isn't one. I would do that. You, on the other hand, seem quite opposed to it. Do you have something to hide?

It's not a flawed idea. It is complete common sense. Unfortunately, lots of people like to think the government is out to get them.

Because it's an EXTREMELY dangerous precedent to set. What about when being gay was illegal? There are so many times where a right to privacy is protecting a person from undue harm. Yes today I wouldn't care if the government could know all my dirty secrets as I have done nothing illegal, however who's to say that some things I do/have done won't become illegal in the future?

chocolate pickles:
There isn't one. I would do that. You, on the other hand, seem quite opposed to it. Do you have something to hide?

It's not a flawed idea. It is complete common sense. Unfortunately, lots of people like to think the government is out to get them.

It's EXTREMELY flawed. You're assuming a perfect system operated by complete saints who don't have any ulterior motives or personal vendettas. That's not how the world works and it's not how the people in charge operate.

chocolate pickles:

The Bucket:

chocolate pickles:
Nice to see Apple cares more about 'customer privacy' than helping protect against terrorism. But hey, apparently most people can't quite grasp the fact the government doesn't give a shit about your info, provided you are not doing illegal.

"If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear"
That's a very old and flawed ideal. Even if in most individual cases, the right to privacy from government is irrelevant, its massively important to have as a society. Your right to privacy is your right to yourself, the right to choose what other people can know about you without cause. You might as well submit all your letters, email and web activity to the government as well, you're probably not doing anything illegal, so whats the problem?

There isn't one. I would do that. You, on the other hand, seem quite opposed to it. Do you have something to hide?

It's not a flawed idea. It is complete common sense. Unfortunately, lots of people like to think the government is out to get them.

It is such a flawed idea that it's been beaten near to death in literature. Everyone has something to hide because everyone to some degree or another values their privacy. If you think that the people who have access to that personal information will only use it on the up-and-up then I highly recommend you take a look at what the FBI was and did under Hoover, what NSA employees were doing with the mass information gathering tools they have at their disposal.

The whole mantra of, "You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide," presumes that those in power aren't flawed, greedy, jealous, angry jerks just like everyone else. The government isn't out to get us but it also isn't some homogeneous group-think of righteous right-doing either.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-surveillance-watchdog-idUSBRE98Q14G20130927

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/07/snowden-nsa-employees-routinely-pass-around-intercepted-nude-photos/

Abomination:

Having a back door to a electronic data storage device is a good thing. We aren't talking about an open source situation but a criminal investigation tool.

Like it or not but Smartphones are the new journal, tablet, scheduler, data storage and networking devices. To have so much information locked away from a criminal investigation team is going to hamper their ability to efficiently and economically do their job.

Not granting the justice system the ability to investigate this data storage is foolish.

The problem is backdoors will never, ever exist only to one part. Once the weakness is created, it can be exploited by anyone. It's already happened too. Google was attacked through the backdoor it was ordered to create to allow the feds access.

That and the government has already proven itself untrustworthy in enforcing its own safeguards. Plus, as it's been mentioned before, this is the house that Hoover built. The FBI has a long history doing super illegal things like blackmail.

I mean, hypothetically forcing a back door is equivalent to forcing the individual to willingly incriminate themselves.

Don't get me wrong, I want them to be able to catch bad guys who are really doing something wrong, but ultimately we have a right to not self incriminate.

chocolate pickles:
Nice to see Apple cares more about 'customer privacy' than helping protect against terrorism. But hey, apparently most people can't quite grasp the fact the government doesn't give a shit about your info, provided you are not doing illegal.

Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

Saulkar:

Whistle blowers, watchdogs, activists, demonstration organisers, and political opponents for damn sure. If you were to say that they could receive special privilege to privacy to ensure that they could not be impeded, blackmailed, or pressured by governments or companies through lobbying then who makes the distinction, who grants them that freedom? Furthermore, sure, you might not be doing anything illegal but that is not always the case forever and with things constantly being made illegal like a recent ban on sodomy in one of the states you can bet your ass (pun intended) that someone somewhere would love to use that law against someone they do not like personally, professionally, or politically, and having unimpeded access to your phone is the surefire way to get that information. Information is power and it can and will be abused, if not now but in the future.

Pretty much. It's not a concern that the government is going to come after people today or even tomorrow. This is about the future. Years or decades from now, and which legal precedents will be on the books then.

chocolate pickles:

The Bucket:

chocolate pickles:
Nice to see Apple cares more about 'customer privacy' than helping protect against terrorism. But hey, apparently most people can't quite grasp the fact the government doesn't give a shit about your info, provided you are not doing illegal.

"If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear"
That's a very old and flawed ideal. Even if in most individual cases, the right to privacy from government is irrelevant, its massively important to have as a society. Your right to privacy is your right to yourself, the right to choose what other people can know about you without cause. You might as well submit all your letters, email and web activity to the government as well, you're probably not doing anything illegal, so whats the problem?

There isn't one. I would do that. You, on the other hand, seem quite opposed to it. Do you have something to hide?

It's not a flawed idea. It is complete common sense. Unfortunately, lots of people like to think the government is out to get them.

As the saying goes, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you."

Sometimes, the fear that the government is out to get you turns out to actually be justified, believe it or not.

Wow Apple, I'm a bit impressed. You actually have a portion of my respect now. Keep it up and you might get me to buy your products for people I reasonably tolerate at Christmas time.

albino boo:

Oh for godsake its not a modified OS or cracking its just Apple changing the password and telling the FBI the new password.

You didn't read any of the four links you posted.
The FBI is trying to strong arm Apple into giving them something that does not exist, which is the ability to decrypt the encryption on the phone. They're now trying to get Apple to create a means to bypass the ten strikes on the password entry so the phone does not wipe itself as they attempt to brute force the password. The latter in this case most definitely is a modified operating system/a crack into the OS. In absolutely no way is it what you described.

rcs619:
Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

This particular statement truly irks me, sacrificing liberty for safety is literally what society is about, we construct systems and rules to protect ourselves from whatever is out there. We would literally have to abolish every single law, and let the world descend into complete anarchy in order to regain the liberties we've "sacrificed". If you'd used a term like "essential liberty" or something to that effect I might agree, but as it stands it is nothing more than a poorly understood, indefensible slogan to yell at others.

In this case Apple might be in the right, but since neither I, nor anyone else in this thread, knows the exact demands of FBI or the court order we can't really know.

shinyelf:

This particular statement truly irks me, sacrificing liberty for safety is literally what society is about, we construct systems and rules to protect ourselves from whatever is out there. We would literally have to abolish every single law, and let the world descend into complete anarchy in order to regain the liberties we've "sacrificed". If you'd used a term like "essential liberty" or something to that effect I might agree, but as it stands it is nothing more than a poorly understood, indefensible slogan to yell at others.

I'd rather govern myself than have someone who thinks they know better than me what's best for me do it.

In this case Apple might be in the right, but since neither I, nor anyone else in this thread, knows the exact demands of FBI or the court order we can't really know.

According to that Cult of Mac link up there, this is what the judge wrote:

Apple's reasonable technical assistance shall accomplish the following three important functions: (1) it will bypass or disable the auto-erase function whether or not it has been enabled; (2) it will enable the FBI to submit passcodes to the SUBJECT DEVICE for testing electronically via the physical device port, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or other protocol available on the SUBJECT and (3) it will ensure that when the FBI submits passcodes to the SUBJECT DEVICE, software running on the device will not purposefully introduce any additional delay between passcode attempts beyond what is incurred by Apple hardware.

Draw your own conclusions.

LegendaryGamer0:
I'd rather govern myself than have someone who thinks they know better than me what's best for me do it.

So we should abolish every law regarding murder and assault?

LegendaryGamer0:
According to that Cult of Mac link up there, this is what the judge wrote:

Apple's reasonable technical assistance shall accomplish the following three important functions: (1) it will bypass or disable the auto-erase function whether or not it has been enabled; (2) it will enable the FBI to submit passcodes to the SUBJECT DEVICE for testing electronically via the physical device port, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or other protocol available on the SUBJECT and (3) it will ensure that when the FBI submits passcodes to the SUBJECT DEVICE, software running on the device will not purposefully introduce any additional delay between passcode attempts beyond what is incurred by Apple hardware.

LegendaryGamer0:
Draw your own conclusions.

This simply reads as an order to make sure that the FBI can access the SUBJECT device, as in the device in question. As far as I can see there isn't a single call for Apple to hand over even a scrap of code. So yeah, no liberty lost there.

shinyelf:

So we should abolish every law regarding murder and assault?

Do you need a law to tell you those things are wrong?

This simply reads as an order to make sure that the FBI can access the SUBJECT device, as in the device in question. As far as I can see there isn't a single call for Apple to hand over even a scrap of code. So yeah, no liberty lost there.

They are asking for Apple to make the means to allow for the FBI to circumvent protective measures against precisely what they are doing. Not only is that intentionally making a vulnerability within their own software, it's making it available to the FBI at their beck and call. Not even mentioning what the altered OS existing in the hands of the FBI could do.

Considering this is the FBI, I'd say there is quite a bit of liberty to be lost there.

LegendaryGamer0:
Do you need a law to tell you those two things are wrong?

I don't, no, but if it allows the police to investigate people who might be considering murdering or assaulting me? I'd say go ahead, make the law.

They are asking for Apple to make the means to allow for the FBI to circumvent protective measures against precisely what they are doing. Not only is that intentionally making a vulnerability within their own software, it's making it available to the FBI at their beck and call. Not even mentioning what the altered OS existing in the hands of the FBI could do.
Considering this is the FBI, I'd say there is quite a bit of liberty to be lost here.

Which part of the order includes incorporating a weakness in the software? Being able to turn off the auto-erase? Being able to enter the passcode without having to tap the screen? Or is it perhaps ensuring that entering a code without tapping the screen doesn't mess up the phone?
All of these are reasonable, and nowhere is it stated that Apple needs to surrender the code, or the means of access to the FBI. Sure, ideally Apple would figure a way to do a data dump of the phone, but as alternative this works okay.
To me this seems more like a kneejerk reaction against "the man". The feds aren't asking for permission to poke around your phone at will, nor are they asking Apple to give them an electronic skeleton key.

chocolate pickles:
Nice to see Apple cares more about 'customer privacy' than helping protect against terrorism. But hey, apparently most people can't quite grasp the fact the government doesn't give a shit about your info, provided you are not doing illegal.

Any back door Apple creates for the FBI can and will be exploited by dataminers to steal your credit card numbers.

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