Short-timer U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder blasts Apple for protecting users’ privacy against government overreach

“U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urged technology companies to preserve law-enforcement access to smartphone data, responding to new privacy features from Apple Inc. and Google Inc. that he said would hamper investigations of child sex abuse,” Del Quentin Wilber reports for Bloomberg News. “‘It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job while still adequately protecting personal privacy,’ he said. ‘When a child is in danger, law enforcement needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect the child and to stop those that abuse children. It is worrisome to see companies thwarting our ability to do so.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, Think of The Children™. Whenever you hear that line of horseshit, look for ulterior motives. Fear mongers: Those who use of fear, scare tactics, and emotional appeals in attempts to influence the opinions and actions of others towards some specific end.

“Holder is the highest-profile official to protest the encryption of phones by Google and Apple,” Wilber reports. “The dispute is the latest flare-up pitting the federal government against the nation’s leading technology companies since National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed last year the extent of U.S. snooping on phone and Internet communications — and how companies cooperated.”

MacDailyNews Take: Let’s get real: Google’s promise of encryption will take several years to roll out to significant numbers of fragmandroid sufferers. Apple’s is already in the majority of iOS users hands right now.

Wilber reports, “In remarks prepared for a speech in Washington, Holder didn’t say how the Justice Department hoped to change the companies’ minds but hoped they ‘would be willing to work with us to ensure that law enforcement retains the ability, with court-authorization, to lawfully obtain information in the course of an investigation, such as catching kidnappers and sexual predators.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Ooh, doubling down on Think of The Children™ – and from a short-timer, hell-bent on amassing a minor fortune from the private sector, no less. Desperate times for those who serially ignore the Fourth Amendment, these are.

“Apple described the new measures on Sept. 17 on its website, noting that it can no longer bypass customers’ passcodes and ‘therefore cannot access this data,'” Wilber reports. “‘It’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running’ the latest version of the company’s operating system, iOS 8, the Cupertino, California-based company said.”

“Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey entered the debate last week, telling reporters that he opposed the companies’ decision. He said the FBI was working to get them to change the policies,” Wilber reports. “‘What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law,’ Comey said.”

MacDailyNews Take: Stop moaning and whining, you lazy bastard, and go read the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution for what sounds like will be the first time in your life.

That is the law you’ve placed yourself and your cronies above, Comey. The supreme law of the land which you swore an oath to uphold, no less.

Prior to 2007, there were no evidence bonanzas from warrantless searches and seizures available right in suspects’ pockets and, yet, somehow, law enforcement personnel actually managed to solve crimes without infringing citizen’s basic constitutional rights. Use valid search warrants the way you used them before Steve Jobs gave the world the modern smartphone and tablet. It’s past time to return to following the U.S. Constitution. If it takes force from leaders like Apple for constitutional rights to actually be enforced, so be it.

The U.S. government brought this upon itself.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Eric Holder, get lost and don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. – Ronald Reagan, March 30, 1961

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

Related articles:
What if Osama bin Laden had an iPhone? – September 26, 2014
FBI blasts Apple for protective users’ privacy by locking government, police out of iPhones and iPads – September 25, 2014
Apple thinks different about privacy – September 23, 2014
Apple’s iOS Activation Lock reduces iPhone thefts, Samsung phone thefts skyrocket – September 18, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for government, police – even with search warrants – September 18, 2014
Would you trade privacy for national security? Most Americans wouldn’t – August 6, 2014
Apple begins encrypting iCloud email sent between providers – July 15, 2014
Obama administration demands master encryption keys from firms in order to conduct electronic surveillance against Internet users – July 24, 2013
U.S. NSA seeks to build quantum computer to crack most types of encryption – January 3, 2014
Apple’s iMessage encryption trips up U.S. feds’ surveillance – April 4, 2013

90 Comments

  1. Before cell phones existed, police somehow managed to do their jobs. The only thing they could get from regular phones were call records from the phone company, and, if they got a warrant, they could tap the line.

    How is it that encrypting data on cell phones prevents them from doing either of these things? The only thing encryption stops is unauthorized spying on private citizens.

    1. It’s funny because you answered your own question. The police had access to everything. The could tap the phone line, they could search your home or office. Nothing was really secure from the government.

      “The only thing encryption stops is unauthorized spying on private citizens.”

      Well no, the whole point here is that encryption is stopping authorized spying by the government… as in even with a warrant, the encrypted data can’t be obtained.

      1. Not really, since with a warrant the government could imprison the private citizen until they give up the key. This has already been done (US vs Ramona Fricosu). The point is they would have to go to a real court, none of this secret court nonsense.

        1. Ramona Fricosu isn’t a precedent. She claimed she didn’t remember the password, and her ex-husband later provided a list of potential passwords. One of them worked, and she was released. She plea bargained her case, resulting in the mandatory decryption never being challenged.

          But the point I was making was as it pertained to spying, which it does prevent, even with a warrant.

          On the other point, the big problem I have with mandatory decryption is that I know people who have real problems managing their password (hi mom!). You could end up with someone being held in contempt indefinitely because they can’t remember their password, or because it was changed by someone else, or because the device didn’t even belong to them (not necessarily stolen).

          1. Spying isn’t what the AG was arguing for (I don’t imagine that would be very popular). He said it would prevent a search warrant from catching all those child molesters out there the feds are always looking for. The government always has the power to get what it wants–they have guns, planes and tanks. However they always go for the path of least resistance. So they would much prefer a government mandated peep whole into your bedroom.

            1. “Spying isn’t what the AG was arguing for”

              Read the original comment. That’s what I was replying to.

              A search warrant issued to a company like Apple for information doesn’t necessarily mean that the warrant would be public, nor that the person(s) that the data is being obtained from as the target of the warrant would be informed.

              That is essentially spying. Obtaining data, monitoring and recording communications without the target being aware of such activity.

              The canary indicated that Apple did experience a warrant to release customer data and was prohibited from notifying the customer as well as announcing to the public that it had ever done this for anyone.

              By using the encryption that Apple has adopted, this all goes away as even with a warrant, Apple can’t provide any data, because it doesn’t have it (within the scope of the subject… the data that is encrypted).

              Hence, the encryption is stopping authorized (with a warrant) spying.

    2. I only wish that Holder and the Feds were as generous with the IRS emails & data that seems to have simply ‘disappeared’ from govt servers regarding IRS political bullying/stalking. This administration is such a joke. I’d laugh but it’s just too sad..

  2. MDN, grow up. I know you have no respect for this country that provides you so much but seriously you are the one that needs to STFU. Yes, I know most of you will hate on me but we can defend and promote Apple without resulting to a high school ass with no respect.

        1. Holder is worried about the children He should have thought of that when he was fronting guns to the Mexican drug cartels which resulted in killings that left many children fatherless and subject to abuse and resulted in deaths of US Border Parol agents and I suspect some DEA agents.

          Add to that the millions Apple wasted fighting trunped up charges on ibooks price fixing. Make Holder ambassador to the new Islamic State.

          1. What the fvck does any of this have to do with Islam or another religion? I’m Not Muslim, but I have as much respect for the misguided who worship Allah as I do for the misguided who worship God, and so should anyone who isn’t prejudiced (since that’s kinda the definition).

            Any other opinion you have amounts to jack sh!t when you end it with a jibe at a religion in which the vast majority of worshippers are peaceful, law-abiding people. It’s no different than lumping all Christians in with those responsible for the Crusades or the Inquisition, or referring to all atheists as immoral.

            Idiot.

            1. You aren’t from around here? When someone says “Islamic State” (with capital letters ), they obviously mean the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”, a self-proclaimed country within the territories of current Iraq and Syria. US is currently leading an air campaign against it.

            2. Over-reaction if I ever saw one. Making Holder ambassador to an Islamic State is not a slam on Islam.

              Sensitive. Boy, are you sensitive. I think you read too much into his post.

              However, I wonder what the new Islamic State is that was referred to. Is that us, the new United Islamic States of America? Wouldn’t surprise me as I had predicted this in 2008 to only a few friends which was Barack Obama would allow this to happen. Let’s hope this never happens. I don’t want O’Reiley to write a book called “Killing America”.

            3. moron! allah is not a god, never was. allah is satan, at the very least a demon.

              there are not many gods, there is one God. the judgment about to befall your country is in large measure due to America’s mocking and rejecting of God.

            4. While I don’t want to bother getting into a philosophical discussion, even if we accept that there exists one (and only one) god, different religions of the world have different names for him/her/it. For Muslims, god’s name is Allah; for Christians and Jews, it is Yahweh (YHWH); Hindus usually call god Vishnu; Buddhists don’t really have the concept of god as a being, and so on.

              I’m not sure what judgement will befall my country, or what it has to do with America, but I’m sure god, religion and practice of it (whichever it may be) either in America, or in my country, has nothing to do with it.

            5. Predrag is correct, sort-of.

              Allah and YHWH are the same Old Testament God. As far as I know, Vishnu and others, are not Old Testament Gods. Allah is YHWH in another language.

              Also, there is more than one god and the Old Testament says so. For example, Moses was given the title god and so were the Pharaohs. As far as I know, Lucifer is the god of this world, or so he claims. There have been dictators that believed they were gods, i.e. Ceasar et al, and same with celebrities, sports figures, and politicians, or at least they are worshipped as if… .

              There is also God the Father and God the Son (read the New Testament rather than someone else’s interpretation). According to my math, that’s two.

            6. you would benefit greatly from varying your reading material. islam is not a religion of peace, nor does it claim to be. anyone who makes such a claim has not read the koran.

              clearly, it would surprise you to learn that paedophilia (especially boys) is culturally entrenched in islamic society.

              a male is not considered a man until he has facial hair, and boys are considered female and therefore objects of sexual desire. no wonder that almost all muslim men have beards, at least a moustache. and at least early in life, sex is a pain in the ass.

              interesting also that at holder’s elite level child sex rings are rumored to be flourishing, even up to the white house of g.h. w. bush. so, this concern for the welfare of children seems more pseudo than sincere.

              stop smoking the pipe of political correctness.

    1. The people who have no respect for this country are our current attorney general and his DOJ. He’s been held in contempt of Congress for withholding information, and protected by his accomplice in crime, Obama. Their scheme to promote gun control legislation by creating crime in Mexico with illegally sold American guns would be impeachment material if the president hadn’t invoked executive privilege and if Holder hadn’t agreed to lie for the president. They are both in it up to their eyeballs and have the blood of more than one US border patrol agent on their hands. To whine about not being able to illegally gather evidence on citizens while withholding evidence in a criminal case against themselves is as dishonest and as reprehensible as anyone can get.

      That you somehow swallow their line of reasoning, and want to protect them while invoking patriotism is incomprehensible. Are you truly that stupid?

      1. What a great TV ad. Show Eric Holder wining about not being able the hack Apple iPhones with the Fourth Amendment as background behind the government demanding access to the iOS Apple devices. Call it “64-bit and secure”!

    2. MDN Take is perfect. Year after year I watch as the Federal Government grows and tightens its control on every day people. We pas tens of thousands of new laws in this country every year. Never is there a single one designed to protect US, the people from our so called “representatives.” The only thing that does that and does it well is our Constitution.

      Holder was a disgusting Attorney General. From literally BULLYING Aaron Swartz to death, to glossing over fast and furious, IRSgate, to sending 40 FBI agents to investigate the death of one two bit thug in Ferguson, he’s been nothing but a trumped up ass licking screwup in a tie.

      Now when a corporation takes a stand to protect our privacy above and beyond anything the Obama Administration ever considered, he’s got a problem with it. Get out Holder. Get out and stay out.

      1. Yes and no. I think besides the Child predators we have to think of terrorists as well. Every time I hear more totally impossible to access security, I think about the terrorists going “Great! We can now plan detailed attacks with no worries of discovery!” Our right to privacy for conversations with grandma or your boss is going to bite us in the ass when terrorists see great advantages to these features.

        1. “The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”
          Patrick Henry

          When the authorities stop hiding what they do from the American public, and we don’t need people like Snowden to leak our government’s crimes, then maybe people will allow the government some slack. Right now there are too many groups whining about the loss of their ability to ignore our fourth amendment rights to even consider letting them have their way.

          And anyone concerned about this abuse of of the fourth amendment should be just as concerned about the attacks on the second

          1. I see where you are coming from, but I think we will need every tool possible to combat ISIS and others of their kind. Tools like this are an absolute advantage to their confidential plot communication, and will bite us in the ass in the long run. We are about to have far bigger issues with ISIS than any Snowdon concerns.

    3. scott31270 Don’t Tread on Me! Eric Holder is a damn oppressive tyrant. Thank you MDN for affirming the Constitution and standing up for individual freedom against corrupt government bastards who should read the Constitution before they wipe their fanny with it!

    4. Unless you want to live with total chaos, be careful about which limits are put on the help you may need to defend your property. Now those with no property may just want to steal from those that like to own things and they’ll be able to escape justice. Not a world that I want.

  3. So, they can:
    1. Intercept every email, web search & phone call
    2. Watch our movements with traffic cams & satellites
    3. Track everything we purchase with credit, and where
    4. See everything in our bank accounts
    5. Perform surveillance at any time

    but they need more info?

  4. It would be great for all the people against this that their kids become the victims. Then we will see how high and mighty they are when their child is taken by a sexual predator. Everyone knows it is easy to be high and mighty until the issue actually affects you personally. To bad these #J$KMND can’t see past their nose.

    1. “either stand with us or with the child pornographers”
      ===
      That was uttered by a ruling Conservative party member in Canada in support of their internet spying bill, the cleverly named “Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act”.

      The backlash was immediate. They could ignore the “liberal” civil libertarians, but not from their own conservative base, and the bill died a well-deserved death… at least until its zombie came back in another bill a year later.

      Which goes to prove that it doesn’t matter if the party forming the government is left or right, whichever one is in power will always abuse that power and trust the people gave them.

    2. Can you cite a single case where a child’s life was saved, just in time, by forcibly cracking an unencrypted smartphone? Or maybe where a child’s life was definitely lost because a smartphone was unable to be cracked in time?

      Because neither Holder nor Comey bothered to. It would have lent some credibility to their argument.

  5. Modern law enforcement is convinced everyone is guilty of some crime; it is just a matter of determining what that crime is. Since they have that perspective, it is only natural that any privacy is “concealing the crime”.

    1. There are so many national, regional, and local laws against individual actions, almost anything a person does is a crime. But don’t you worry, we are protected. Oppressive government bullshit!

  6. So our illustrious, short-timer Attorney General who avoided dealing with any of the criminals who caused the financial crisis is now criticizing Apple for allowing their customers to exercise their 4th Amendment rights.

    Hey Holder, next time you wipe your ass with our Constitution, why don’t you take a moment to read it first.

  7. What all the politicians need to realize is that it’s their proven willingness to totally disregard the U.S. Constitution and authorize & encourage government agencies to engage in wholesale spying on citizens that is driving these developments. If you are a proven serial liar you shouldn’t expect the public at large to believe anything you say.

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