DOJ warns Apple: iPhone encryption will lead to a child dying

“The No. 2 official at the Justice Department recently warned top Apple executives that stronger encryption protections added to iPhones would lead to a horrific tragedy, such as a child dying, because police couldn’t access a suspect’s device, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday,” Dan Goodin reports for Ars Technica.

“The beefed up protections, Apple recently disclosed, mean that even when company officials are served with a court order, they will be unable to retrieve potentially crucial evidence such as photos, messages, or contacts stored on iPhones and iPads,” Goodin reports. “Instead, the data can be accessed only by people who know the passcode that serves as the encryption key.”

“Prior to changes introduced in iOS 8, Apple had the means to pull data off of a locked phone, and according to the WSJ, the company helped police do just that when it was served with a valid court order. Under the latest iOS version, the data can be recovered only by knowing the passcode. Passcodes that are sufficiently long and complex make it infeasible for Apple or anyone else to crack,” Goodin reports. “US Attorney General Eric Holder recently said it was ‘worrisome’ that tech companies were adding default encryption to consumer electronics. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently pushed back at a WSJ conference, saying ‘”Look, if law enforcement wants something, they should go to the user and get it. It’s not for me to do that.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in September:

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.

United States Constitution, Amendment IV:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

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 on 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

Visit the Apple-backed today.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]


      1. “The Department of Justice remains most prominent collection of law enforcement agencies”

        Law enforcement kills untold number of people without any basis whatsoever. Literally thousands per year, including many children (mainly minorities).

        stronger encryption protections added to iPhones would lead to a horrific tragedy, such as a child dying

        This guy is a lying disgrace. The truth of the matter is that even before Apple has implemented perfect encryption in iOS 8 for local data, it had many months-long queue for agencies (mostly FBI) request to unlock password-protected iOS devices.

        So the fate of this theoretical child would not change with Apple’s latest move at all.

        What this guy really argues against is any type of protection of personal data in principle.

        1. I think this guy is not lying deliberately, he is just plain stupid. He should be more afraid of ignorance, because it kills a lot more children, even grownups like himself.
          OK, would you like to die because of an encrypted iPhone or of ignorance? My answere is encrypted.

          1. All these government fear mongers are more concerned about making their jobs a little easier than they are about citizen rights or freedom.

            If law enforcement ever becomes easy it will only be because we became a police state.

      2. OK, I’ll explain. In a misguided effort to generate statistics that would support increased restrictions on the sale of firearms, the DOJ, under Mr. Holder, and the BATF cooperated in a scheme to send illegally bought firearms into Mexico, where they found their way into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels. These firearms were used in the killing of Mexican nationals, including women and children, as well as at least one US Border Patrol agent. Mr. Holder then refused to discuss the DOJ’s role in this fiasco, and president Obama invoked executive privilege in order to prevent the disclosure of documents related to who was aware of the details of this program and when they became aware. Mr. Holder was held in contempt of congress for his refusal to testify about these things. Mr. Holder has announced that he will soon resign and no doubt he be pardoned by the president for any crimes he may have committed while in office.

            1. Wow thats incredible. The government is determined to throw away every principle of decency in these “wars” on drugs and terror.

              That all this costs enormous sums of money, borrowed on credit with the US tax payer as collateral, makes it even worse.

            2. Doesn’t matter if it was on Wikipedia or not… DO ANY RESEARCH YOURSELF…

              Or you know, click the links on the wikipedia page.

              here some reading for you


              Wikipedia is just an easy place to get a bunch of links together. Believe what is there or not, but you can’t say the links to actual news sites are all wrong… just cause they are also linked on Wikipedia.

            3. Wouldn’t logic dictate that history told by a group is more comprehensive, less biased, and more accurate than a single account?

              Wikipedia does have errors, by and large it is fairly accurate, properly footnoted articles will lead you to facts and truth.

              I trust wikipedia more than Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS etc. They get paid to lie to me, wikipedia does not.

              I’ll take peer review over editorial agenda every time thanks..

            4. Wikipedia tends to be reasonably accurate with objective topics, such as geography, architecture, engineering …

              Once you start wandering afield into politically-charged issues, you’d better look to other sources to verify what’s there. It can be wildly inaccurate in some areas.

            5. I’ve studied the Wide Receiver/Fast & Furious scandal in depth. When I went looking for an article to cite I was looking for one that included a lot of fairly accurate,unbiased information. I couldn’t use FOX or CNN.

              Wikipedia simply had the most comprehensive article about this topic. I read it to verify its accuracy and its biases before citing it. Actually, the very first section of this Wiki article whitewashes the situation a bit, but overall, the article is pretty accurate.

          1. Read the wikipedia article, including its citations.

            “……a better example of the your government killing children…”

            What a shame that we need phrases like that. 🙁

        1. You are correct, but in truth, there are WAAAAY more deaths we can pin on them. In fact let’s just include the complete cluster-fuck of failed policy known as the war on drugs.

          How many orphans has it created?

          How many single parent homes has it created?

          How many kids drawn to gangs because their dad is in jail for a joint? H

          ow many narco-states have we militarized leading to a rise in violence there and an influx of immigrants fleeing the violence?

          Yes, the Department of Justice has a lot of blood on it’s corrupt hands. Period. No partisan slant required, it’s been bad since Nixon, getting worse each year.

          1. So you are saying let the illegal drug offenders that break the law, ALONE.

            Yeah, that will solve the problem. The drug culture will decline. The criminals selling illegal drugs will also decline and open up Coffee shops.

            Wake up, please ….

      3. How about no knock raids that throw stun grenades into cribs? In that specific case, the child didn’t die I suppose. The lifelong debilitating injuries aren’t that big of a deal.

    1. Hey, if it’s going save some kid, we should get rid of encryption completely. Imagine the countless lives that will be saved because the police can access anyone’s device immediately!

      1. You’re right. It’s not like the NSA has planes that fly overhead, scanning mobile phone communications, and pinpointing a person’s location. I mean, that would be crazy!

    1. Well, because obviously if the police find the person who has kidnapped a child and has them hidden away in an underground bunker with a limited supply of oxygen, then by accessing their mobile phone the police would be able to locate the precise location where the still alive but very soon to run out of air child is located. Probably because the perp pinned it on Maps just to make sure he didn’t forget where his chosen site was, or made a Contact (Child 3 Burial Site). And since the police could call Apple, have them immediately access the locked iPhone, scan through for all of this critical information, they would be able to rescue the child just as she drew her last breath . . .

      Oh wait, that was last week’s Law & Order. My bad. Real life police work takes more than an hour (40 min. with commercials) to complete.

  1. Word to the DoJ;
    Release of a new car will lead to a child dying in a traffic accident somewhere. Is that a good reason to ban cars? No

    Tell the Cops to put down the doughnut, get out of the Yukon, calm down and wear out some shoe leather- you know, Policing. When you have probable cause go to a judge and get a warrant. Until then, go pound sand.

      1. Exactly. Police have become more and more militarized, with strict procedures that usually involve pointing weapons at someone first, finding out details later.

        If police would engage their communities, be known to the public, use common sense and not just be guys who pull you over to give you tickets, then they might avoid a lot of this hatred aimed at them. But policing has become Us vs. Them, and unfortunately we’re all the Them.

        1. The problem is that the Mayberry ideal of “Protect & Serve” is largely a fallacy. Our governments corporate masters tell them what laws to write, and then they go about “enforcing” them. The local and municipal laws are largely instituted for the potential revenue they will bring, all hide behind the specter of fear and the guise of “protecting” us from ourselves.

          We the people are guilty until proven otherwise, only if we survive the beating we get for asking a question and “being uncooperative”. If we are lucky the cop doesn’t show up, the judge isn’t having a bad day, he prosecutor is feeling nice and we are well dressed and walk away free.

          We have put cops on a pedestal, we refer to them as hero’s, we allow them to police themselves and we give them largely what ever the hell they want, including tanks, drones, machine guns, etc.

          We watch endless cop shows on tv to brainwash us into how good they are and make us more compliant. Never mind the fact that their hiring standards are not much more rigorous than any other job. No special skills required, and increasingly they seem to attract PTSD suffering vets and power-hungry sociopaths. They have their own secret societies, their own code of honor and are generally above the law. EVERY SINGLE day I see at LEAST one article about a rapist cop, a dog killing cop, a racist cop, a drunk cop, an accidental weapon discharging cop, and on and on. They have just as many if not more derelicts as any other large employer. It is a problem, and no one in America has the stones to make fixing it a priority, least of all our corrupt Justice Department.

          1. If you believe that, you should protect your family by moving them to someplace that doesn’t have any police. There are several towns in Mexico, Syria, and Somalia where you could feel completely safe.

    1. Every technology properly used has the potential for death. You mention cars, there are a substantial number of deaths due to mobile phone use while driving.

      This guy is really self serving.

  2. More reckless and reprehensible meddling from a Justice Department at its lowest ebb since the Nixon Administration.

    What’s next? — What if a poor little child did die? Would Apple excecutives be arrested and prosecuted for murder? Yeah, large courtroom crowds would clap and cheer at that.

    1. Until it’s your child that dies. Not saying apple is wrong just that it will be unfortunate when it happens. One life lost is to many. You’d see it differently if it happened to you personally.

      1. Glenda might, and you might, but I wouldn’t. I would never blame Apple or a kidnapper’s phone for my kid not being found. It is the kidnapper’s fault. 100%. Unless the encryption process causes the circuits to overheat and explode the phone in my child’s hand while he is gassing up the car, I see no way that iPhone encryption would lead to his death. This is absurd.

  3. No.

    Violating the Constitution will destroy the Republic. Public servants who violate the constitution should be 1. barred from public service, 2. financially liable to those whose rights they violated, and 3. forfeit all benefits and pensions accrued in public service.

    1. Actually, that’s way over simplified. Here’s the actual data from 2010:

      Fifteen Leading Causes of Death for Children 0-10

      1. Perinatal conditions
      2. Congenital anomalies
      3. Motor vehicle
      4. Homicide
      5. Neoplams
      6. SIDS
      7. Suicid
      8. Circulatory disease
      9. Nervous system disease
      10. Respiratory disease
      11. Suffocation/strangulation
      12. Drowning
      13. Poisoning
      14. Fires
      15. Unintentional firearm

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