Judge Tells Apple To Help FBI Unlock San Bernardino Terrorist’s Phone Data – Apple Says No…

new_media_overviewThis is an interesting situation.  Obviously no-one has any sympathy for the terrorists, but a federal judge is requiring Apple to build access to unlock an iPhone.  There’s a more complex issue at stake, at least there appears to be – maybe not.  Here’s the story:

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. magistrate has ordered Apple to help the Obama administration hack into an iPhone belonging to one of the shooters in San Bernardino, California.

The ruling by Sheri Pym on Tuesday requires Apple to supply highly specialized software the FBI can load onto the phone to cripple a security encryption feature that erases data after too many unsuccessful unlocking attempts.

Federal prosecutors told the judge they can’t access a county-owned work phone used by Syed Farook because they don’t know his passcode.  By default, Apple has encrypted its iPhones to allow them only to be accessed using a passcode. (read more)

And HERE is Apple’s Response

What do you think?

cell phone 2

This entry was posted in Big Government, Big Stupid Government, Election 2016, media bias, Terrorist Attacks, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

731 Responses to Judge Tells Apple To Help FBI Unlock San Bernardino Terrorist’s Phone Data – Apple Says No…

  1. QuadGMoto says:

    And now, time for more useful links:

    First up, a moderated discussion among advanced Apple users which covers both sides and offers a number of useful links:

    MacInTouch Apple Discussion starting Feb 18th

    Next up, an article from John McAfee—yes, that McAfee.

    JOHN MCAFEE: I’ll decrypt the San Bernardino phone free of charge so Apple doesn’t need to place a back door on its product

    It has finally come to this. After years of arguments by virtually every industry specialist that back doors will be a bigger boon to hackers and to our nation’s enemies than publishing our nuclear codes and giving the keys to all of our military weapons to the Russians and the Chinese, our government has chosen, once again, not to listen to the minds that have created the glue that holds this world together.

    This is a black day and the beginning of the end of the US as a world power. The government has ordered a disarmament of our already ancient cybersecurity and cyberdefense systems, and it is asking us to take a walk into that near horizon where cyberwar is unquestionably waiting, with nothing more than harsh words as a weapon and the hope that our enemies will take pity at our unarmed condition and treat us fairly.

    Any student of world history will tell you that this is a dream.

    Third, Macworld has posted their own FAQ about this case:

    FAQ: Everything we know so far about Apple’s battle with the FBI


  2. QuadGMoto says:

    Here is an interesting article. The author is clearly biased towards Apple, and IMHO makes some unwarranted assertions about motives. Yet he also builds a solid case showing that this particular fight is just one skirmish in James Comey’s efforts (and the Obama administration’s efforts) to force companies to include a back door or deliberate weakness in encryption systems. He further shows that they tried to get laws requiring back doors passed, but failed because it’s politically infeasible because We The People care about protecting our privacy.

    Obama administration, FBI must act to restore US government’s credibility in Apple’s encryption debate

    As he testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee last July, Comey has a particular problem with encryption because it has, as he testified, “eroded our ability to obtain electronic information and evidence pursuant to a court order or warrant.” He referred to this problem as “Going Dark.”

    In his testimony, Comey acknowledged that “American citizens care deeply about privacy, and rightly so,” and stated that “we have always respected the fundamental right of people to engage in private communications,” adding, “citizens have the right to communicate with one another in private without unauthorized government surveillance—not simply because the Constitution demands it, but because the free flow of information is vital to a thriving democracy.”

    After those platitudes, Comey got real. He noted the arrival of a “new scale” of “mainstream products and services designed in a way that gives users sole control over access to their data. As a result, law enforcement is sometimes unable to recover the content of electronic communications from the technology provider even in response to a court order or duly-authorized warrant issued by a federal judge.”


  3. Cetera says:

    For those still interested and watching this:

    The government thus filed a motion seeking an order requiring “Apple to assist” the investigation “under the authority of the All Writs Act” — the same 1789 law the FBI is invoking in the San Bernardino case — by “help[ing] the government bypass the passcode security.”

    Judge Orenstein applied previous legal decisions interpreting the AWA and concluded that the law does not “justif[y] imposing on Apple the obligation to assist the government’s investigation against its will.” In a formulation extremely favorable to Apple, the judge wrote that the key question raised by the government’s request is whether the AWA allows a court “to compel Apple — a private party with no alleged involvement in Feng’s criminal activity — to perform work for the government against its will.”

    The court ruled that the law permits no such result — both because relevant law contains limits on what companies like Apple are required to do, and because Congress never enacted any such obligations. Moreover, the judge said of the government’s arguments for how the AWA should be applied: “The implications of the government’s position are so far-reaching — both in terms of what it would allow today and what it implies about congressional intent in 1789 — as to produce impermissibly absurd results.”

    The Application before this court is by no means singular: the government has to date successfully invoked the AWA to secure Apple’s compelled assistance in bypassing the passcode security of Apple devices at least 70 times in the past; it has pending litigation in a dozen more cases in which Apple has not yet been forced to provide such assistance; and in its most recent use of the statute it goes so far as to contend that a court — without any legislative authority other than the AWA — can require Apple to create a brand new product that impairs the utility of the products it is in the business of selling.

    It is thus clear that the government is relying on the AWA as a source of authority that is legislative in every meaningful way: something that can be cited as a basis for getting the relief it seeks in case after case without any need for adjudication of the particular circumstances of an individual case (as the arguments that the government relies on here to justify entering an AWA order against Apple would apply with equal force to any instance in which it cannot bypass the passcode security of an Apple device it has a warrant to search).


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