Apple deluged by police demands to decrypt iPhones

“Apple receives so many police demands to decrypt seized iPhones that it has created a ‘waiting list’ to handle the deluge of requests,” Declan McCullagh reports for CNET.

“Court documents show that federal agents were so stymied by the encrypted iPhone 4S of a Kentucky man accused of distributing crack cocaine that they turned to Apple for decryption help last year,” McCullagh reports. “A search warrant affidavit prepared by ATF agent Rob Maynard says that, for nearly three months last summer, he “attempted to locate a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency with the forensic capabilities to unlock” an iPhone 4S. But after each police agency responded by saying they “did not have the forensic capability,” Maynard resorted to asking Cupertino.”

McCullagh reports, “Because the waiting list had grown so long, there would be at least a 7-week delay, Maynard says he was told by Joann Chang, a legal specialist in Apple’s litigation group. It’s unclear how long the process took, but it appears to have been at least four months. The documents shed new light on the increasingly popular law enforcement practice of performing a forensic analysis on encrypted mobile devices — a practice that can, when done without a warrant, raise Fourth Amendment concerns.”

Read more in the full article here.

35 Comments

  1. Never ever, without a search warrant. A suspect may not be coerced to reveal access code to an iPhone, under the 5th.

    Hopefully Apple will maintain human rights, and not fall to pressure from the government to usurp The Constitution and our rights.

      1. Nope. There are constitutional protections that a repeatedly being stomped over on the disgusting so-called war on drugs. Meanwhile phamecuicals kill orders of magnitude more people than all street drugs combined.

        No way Apple should feed the beast.

  2. “a practice that can, when done without a warrant, raise Fourth Amendment concerns.”

    NO..NO..NO!!

    A practice that, when done without a warrant, violates your Fourth Amendment rights.

    Thats better! No cop, no-one has a right to snoop through your phone without permission or a warrant..

      1. tyranny only comes from one place: government. Your beloved federale whores are the “terrorists.” Fuck ’em, text exclusively through Messages, you retain your privacy AND you screw carriers out of exorbitant texting fees. Helluva deal, way to go Apple and the Fourth Amendment.

      2. Terrorists have rights. Every person has rights, or no one does. That is the basis of our Constitution, which has yet to be fully realized. But a lot of progress had been made over 200+ years.

        Then came the 2000s and the Patriot Act, Guitmo, and “enhanced interrogation” and the U.S. took a major step backwards. When groups are singled out for different treatment, then the system is broken. What happens when *you* are tagged as a terrorist (presumably in error) and locked up indefinitely without due process or any recourse to the laws of this nation.

        The rights define in the Constitution and its Amendments are far too precious to sacrifice for safety. Our ancestors faced great danger to secure those rights in the first place. And our country endured terrible bloodshed, both within and without our borders, to maintain those rights. I see far too many flag-waving people give lip service to the Constitution, but fold in the face of threats to their safety, all too willing to start the path back down that slippery slope.

        The famous words of Patrick Henry should be our guide in such matters. Life without true liberty is such a pale existence.

        1. Nicely said, kingmel.

          On the topic: Whoever believes that Apple can crack something that the NSA can’t, give me a call; I’ve got some nice ocean-front real estate in North Dakota for sale… Less flippantly, since iPhones contain strong encryption routines, Apple will have had to secure an export license from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security — LEAs knew what they were getting into.

      1. lol, the highest of ironies was achieved when the Boston “shelter-in-place” (Newspeak for martial law) was lifted and the mean ol’ 19 year old “terrorist” was discovered by a private citizen checking his boat in his backyard. Top-flight police work, no doubt about it…..goons.

  3. Once again the iPhone stands a cut above the fray.

    Poor little piggy can’t look at my texts, because my iPhone is secure!! BOO-HOO little piggy!

  4. Just part of the liberal anti-government agenda. Next they’ll be teaming up with the ACLU to defend Fourth Amendment rights. Commie bastards. Oops! This is so confusing.

    1. … twisted points – none of which are precisely “On Topic”. But I love the way you did it.
      “Liberal anti-government” … aren’t the liberals for BIG government and the conservatives for SMALL government? Except for when there’s a vagina involved, at least.
      “Teaming up with the ACLU” … why is it the Tea Party hates the ACLU, claims to love the Constitution, while the ACLU is designed to defend the Constitution?
      On Topic: if the cops can’t get a real search warrant then they ought not be examining a suspect’s phone. Even if the fact that it’s “protected” makes them suspicious.
      @Mother: SUSPECTED terrorist!
      @Sucker: SUSPECTED terrorists HAVE rights. Same as yours.

  5. If the company who made the device (Apple or anyone for that matter) can decrypt the data then I don’t consider it secure personally.

    True security means only I can decrypt it and my lawyer can explain how I forgot my password while I sit there and respect my right to remain silent.

  6. Don’t trust Apple on this, 4th Amendment or no.

    The company was faced with the same kinds of demands by the Chinese government not too long ago. Remember all that malarky about warranty issues over there? Remember Apple’s very public apology, followed by the PRC government quieting down? That was all kabuki theater. The real issue was that in order for Apple to get the iPhone & iPad any further into the Chinese market, they had to give the government access to the devices – or the ability to access them when desired. The warranty B.S. was the smoke screen layed down by the government to keep the more gullible of the populace (in China and throughout the world) from knowing what the real issue was. No need for anymore bad press on human rights issues. And Apple’s promise, to do better with warranty claims, was in fact their public answer to the government’s demands – ‘we accept your terms and surrender’.

    Tim Cook already has sold out on this issue in a big way. America is just another market to him. And if he has to compromise our privacy in order to placate the powers that be, he will.

  7. — a practice that can, when done without a warrant, raise Fourth Amendment concerns.

    No ‘concerns’. Without a warrant, taking ANY data from a US citizen is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. It’s a fundamental crime of the government against the citizens it SERVES. IOW: Lock up the criminal fake ‘police’, fake ‘FBI’, fake ‘CIA’, fake ‘NEA’ on and on.

    Here’s where you can read the entire US Constitution, that most fundamental of law providing documents that is too inconvenient for our own elected government to follow in its efforts to convert the US democratic state into a bald faced fascist state:

    http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html

    Be sure to carefully read through Amendment 4: Search and Seisure.

  8. No!… No! No!

    No law enforcement backdoors, period. When law enforcement gets that kind of access to private data, that means people have access to it, which means more criminals than ever have it.

  9. Eventually the terrorists and criminals will see their folly and eschew the iPhone. Then law enforcement will forget about iPhones and focus their attention on the next threat to society.

  10. Apple should not do it. They should not be able to do it. If the encryption is implemented correct Apple should not be able to do it. If they can it is a MAJOR security breach.

    Any one knows what is going on?

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