Obama administration war against Apple just got uglier

“The Obama administration’s central strategy against strong encryption seems to be waging war on the companies that are providing and popularizing it: most notably Apple and Google,” Jenna McLaughlin reports for The Intercept.

“The intimidation campaign got a boost Thursday when a blog that frequently promotes the interests of the national security establishment raised the prospect of Apple being found liable for providing material support to a terrorist,” McLaughlin reports. “Benjamin Wittes, editor-in-chief of the LawFare blog, suggested that Apple could in fact face that liability if it continued to provide encryption services to a suspected terrorist. He noted that the post was in response to an idea raised by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., in a hearing earlier this month.”

“‘In the facts we considered,’ wrote Wittes and his co-author, Harvard law student Zoe Bedell, ‘a court might — believe it or not — consider Apple as having violated the criminal prohibition against material support for terrorism,'” McLaughlin reports. “Wittes and Bedell argue that Apple’s decision to ‘move aggressively to implement end-to-end encrypted systems, and indeed to boast about them’ after being ‘publicly and repeatedly warned by law enforcement at the very highest levels that ISIS is recruiting Americans”’ — in part through the use of encrypted messaging apps — could make the company liable if “an ISIS recruit uses exactly this pattern to kill some Americans.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Those in government and government agencies who would ignore the U.S. Constitution are getting ever more desperate.

First they tried the “think of the children” bullshit, not they’ve moved on to legal threats.

Speaking of the law: The U.S. federal government should adhere to the U.S. Constitution.

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.United States Constitution, Amendment IV

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

Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! – Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

Visit the Apple-backed reformgovernmentsurveillance.com today.

Edward Snowden: Apple is a privacy pioneer – June 5, 2015
U.S. Senate blocks measures to extend so-called Patriot Act; NSA’s bulk collection of phone records in jeopardy – May 23, 2015
Rand Paul commandeers U.S. Senate to protest so-called Patriot Act, government intrusion on Americans’ privacy – May 20, 2015
Apple, others urge Obama to reject any proposal for smartphone backdoors – May 19, 2015
U.S. appeals court rules NSA bulk collection of phone data illegal – May 7, 2015
In open letter to Obama, Apple, Google, others urge Patriot Act not be renewed – March 26, 2015
Apple’s iOS encryption has ‘petrified’ the U.S. administration, governments around the world – March 19, 2015
Obama criticizes China’s demands for U.S. tech firms to hand over encryption keys, install backdoors – March 3, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook advocates privacy, says terrorists should be ‘eliminated’ – February 27, 2015
Apple’s Tim Cook warns of ‘dire consequences’ of sacrificing privacy for security – February 13, 2015
DOJ warns Apple: iPhone encryption will lead to a child dying – November 19, 2014
Me-too Google: Uh, okay, we’ll do default encryption like Apple, too (it’ll just take several years to roll out) – September 18, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police, even with search warrants – September 18, 2014
Apple, Google, others call for government surveillance reform – December 9, 2013


      1. And just what is Obama doing by releasing $150 Billion of Iran assets which they can use to support their anti Israel and anti US Israel terrorist operations.

        And by the way, Apple should start and unbranded campaign against Android lack of security. Tech blogs don’t strike fear into mainstream buyers.

      1. How do you know it’s new owners? I never heard anything about new owners.

        The redirects to the iTunes Store are due to MDN’s ad network, not MDN itself, though ultimately the responsibility does lie with MDN for the ads they carry.

    1. Man, lighten up people. The source story reads, “Obama Administration War Against Apple and Google Just Got Uglier”. The first sentence in the article mentions Apple *and* Google. MDN just shortened it to include only Apple.

        1. How so? It’s nearly a perfect copy of the original article. Did MDN have something to do with that article, too?

          I guess if you look hard enough, you can see anything you you want.

          1. MDN makes everyone else look better. Still, MDN is the last refuge for Apple fanboys. A place where people can observe fanboys in their native habitat.

      1. No. Manufacturers who make weapons, like guns.

        I cannot use gun to mow a lawn; I can’t use it to write a novel, nor can I use it to eat my soup. There is only ONE thing I can use a gun for: kill someone. That is its primary, and practically sole purpose.

        Steak knives’ primary purpose is to — you guessed it — eat steak (Who knew, right?); ropes have multitude of purposes, but extremely low on the utility list is to murder someone (there are devices designed for that, such as — you guessed it — guns!). Cars are used to drive around and move people from one place to another. While some people have used them to murder others, they are rather impractical for that, and other devices are much more suitable (I’m sure by now, you know which).

        1. Strangely, I fired tens of thousands of rounds through my firearms without murdering anyone. I must be doing it wrong.

          Or could it be that guns to have other uses, like hunting and target shooting? And BTW, even self-defense, for which some firearms are designed is a LEGAL use in America.

          1. To say that your primary reason for buying a gun is so that you can shoot at targets is a bit disingenuous. In America, vast majority of gun owners own them purportedly so that they can defend themselves, should the need arise. If we exclude those who only own hunting rifles (where the purpose is clear, and the use is limited practically exclusively to hunting), all other firearms purchases are almost made with that reason.

            1. Don’t confuse primary purpose of being a deterrent with killing. I think for most people buying guns for reason of defending themselves is to scare first and not primarily to shoot to kill. The bang is scary.. Otherwise they’d all be using silencers. 😛

      1. The number one terrorist in the world is the government of the USA.
        Iran has not invaded a single country in the last two centuries . USA has done it as a regular practice and Iran is the terrorist ?

        1. Do you even know what a terrorist is? Government forces in uniform invading a country is not terrorism. It may not be a pleasant thing either, but at least show us you understand the definition of words you thoughtlessly throw around.

          1. Regular army invading a country destroys, kills and terrorizes the people affected by its actions.
            An irregular soldier destroys , kills and terrorizes the people affected by his/her actions.

            1. However, modern western armies do not cowardly hide among civilians and definitely do not deliberately target civilians. A big, big difference and if your cynical brain is too stupid to recognise that then so be it. No doubt you would have loved the Nazis as they were fighting the evil British, French and American forces.

      1. David. I understand you are an angry little man feeling like the world doesn’t respect you for your genius. But even you should know the difference between drunk driving and a gun. Even you.

  1. MDN: “The U.S. federal government should adhere to the U.S. Constitution.”

    Hah! What world do you live in? The feds have paid little or no heed to The Constitution for more than 100 years. GWB’s reported comment “it’s just a goddamn piece of paper” has been the attitude of all 3 branches of the federal government since the Wilson administration.

    1. Barack Obama has stated he does not like the Constitution, because he believes it involves “negative freedoms” – things the government is not free to do. Obama wants the government to be able to do anything – like permit the selling of baby parts, and forcing citizens to buy things they don’t want, and ending the citizens right to free exercise of religion. Obama prefers a system like the one in Cuba. He admires Fidel Castro very much. That system is called dictatorship. Of course, about 70% of the readers here at MDN also admire Fidel Castro very much and don’t really like the US at all. As the Founders set it up.

      1. You really don’t believe all the crap you’re pushing, do you?

        Sigh. No one is “selling baby parts” (least of all Planned Parenthood);

        No one is forcing citizens to buy things they don’t want (you don’t HAVE to buy health insurance, you just have to pay a bit to the national health care system if you don’t);

        No one is “ending the citizens right to free exercise of religion.” (They’re ending discrimination in public businesses. They can worship whatever and however the hell they want).

        And I’ve NEVER read that Obama is a big fan of Fidel Castro.
        Please fact check before you run your mouth off.

        1. You really have your head up your ass. You can watch the videos of the buyers negotiating prices for dead baby thymus, brain, etc. And the Planned Parenthood ghouls saying they will have to do “less crunchy” abortions. I realize you like abortions because you can get your boyfriend pregnant with no consequences and he can just have an abortion. Oh, wait a minute, your boyfriend can’t have a baby. Well, you know someone who has a girlfriend and that person can have reckless sex and then kill their baby. And you just like that.

          Now, a baker being required to bake a phallus cake for homosexuals or else lose their entire life savings is ending the free exercise of religion. How about I force a gay baker to bake a cake showing two guys having sex covered with syphillis and AIDS sores? And if they don’t do it they have to go to jail. That would be fair, right?

            1. If you had followed Kent’s rants lately, you would have found out that he is a deeply closeted gay man, which makes him profoundly afraid of homosexuals.

              Because he apparently grew up in a deeply conservative environment, where there’s nothing worse than being gay, he finds it simply impossible to come out and is repressing it with full force.

              Having grown up in such a society, I can understand him; I had several of obviously gay friends who had stayed deep in the closed because of the society. There were very few of us heterosexual men at the time who were tolerant and wouldn’t judge.

              There are times I feel truly sorry for Kent, regardless of his venom.

            2. Why are the poo punchers “gay”, yet straight people are heterosexual? Lets get the labels right people, there are heterosexuals and homosexuals in this world. Thats it.

            3. Venom?? How about casually discussing the price of baby parts, that 10 minutes earlier were all one healthy viable human life. But then the baby was killed and its body dismembered and sold for profit. That is some serious venom. Actually, it’s called evil.

            4. I was also very disturbed about the fetus organ sales. You raise an important topic. But then you go on to say “…How about I force a gay baker to bake a cake showing two guys having sex covered with syphillis and AIDS sores”. That kind of attack turns a lot of people off. I think a lot of readers would love the debate without the hate.

      1. applepostle: Your “factcheck” completely misses the point of the sentence I wrote. I’ll restate it so even you can comprehend the point:

        The attitude of all 3 branches of the federal government toward The Constitution since the Wilson administration has been to treat it like just a scrap of paper, to be ignored whenever it is convenient.

          1. Yes, I know that the original source of reporting of GWB’s “paper” comment retracted his report. That’s irrelevant. What the reported comment illustrates is the very real disdain that the Bushes, Obama, FDR, Wilson, Nixon, et al have had toward The Constitution. Thus my bigger point – MDN seems to be surprised by this turn of events. Really?

            I’m reminded of another famous and fictitious comment about surprise: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” MDN and readers: please wake up to what the federal government is doing every day. Their “war” on Apple is truly nothing compared with the many egregious unconstitutional actions of the feds over the last year, decade and century.

            1. Sorry, I’m no GWB fan but if you are illustrating said “disdain” with a comment that was later retracted and has no secondary source then you can’t continue to use it as support of your point.

    2. There’s an actual anti-citizen privacy bill up in Congress right now – CISA – if you want to take 30 seconds or so to express yourself about…

      …PS: the group’s communication method of choice? Faxes for the offices of the cyber-dumb proponents who don’t get tech.


      1. The US Military gets a lot more than $150 billion, Kent. We kill a lot more people than Iran and their co-conspirators.

        And besides, the $150 billion is THEIR money that’s been held up by sanctions. We’re just letting them access their own bank accounts.

        1. You prove my point. You like the Iranian terrorist regime that every day executes homosexuals and political dissidents more than you like America. You don’t like the Constitution like Obama doesn’t like it.

          You both prefer the Cuban model. You like Che. You like Marxist dictators.

      1. First half? And you consider that a good strategy to invest in a company that seven months into the year is down? You’re a real genius? If that’s the case, and it is sometimes and not others, learn to put your money elsewhere for the “first half of the year”.Or by your own definition, you’re an idiot.

  2. I want B Clinton back. The guy knows how to pick up chicks. Well maybe Bush or the other Bushes. I like how he doesn’t even know how much gas cost per gallon when he fills up. 😛

  3. This legal concept of liability could apply to any technology that could potentially be used by terrorists. Even if they are only talking about targeting encryption now, the courts will have to consider its broader implications. The courts will strike this concept down if it is implemented and then challenged.

  4. according to this government “logic” anyone who makes or grows anything a terrorist can use is also liable. afterall, terrorists have to eat and food materially supports that need.

  5. Pretty funny. The US government _itself_ could be found liable for providing material support to terrorists. We are the ones who armed the Afghanistani islamic “resistance” movement (against the Russians) in the first place. Funny how karma comes around. And how about all those lost “traceable” guns Holder sold to Mexican gangs? And how about supporting Pakistan over the years with billions of dollars when they are secretly building a nuclear bomb? And what of keen US support for our staunch ally, Saudi Arabia (!), all these years, when they are the ones who are single-handedly funding most extreme madrassas (fundamentalist islamic schools) that are raising extremists? Let’s chalk it up for what it is: material support to terrorists. Accountability, anyone?

    1. Hate to point out those pesky facts, but the ATF gun-running program was started under President Bush. And it was a valid crime-fighting technique (setting up a phony business to gather evidence on your customers) that’s been used by local police forces for decades.

  6. This is NOT about any one party, it is about the federal governement regardless of whom is in office. I say to Apple – stick with it, protect our privacy. Thank you for that.

    1. No doubt. All these idiots with their panties in a bunch about someones opinion blog and somehow transferring their pathetic ignorance to include Obama in the grand conspiracy or something.

  7. Easy enough. Just put in the terms and conditions that the device shall not be used for criminal activity. I think that language is already in there.

    1. That kind of warning implies that Apple if fully cognizant of the strong possibility of the device to be used in criminal activities. The question at that point is what is Apple doing to prevent that from happening or leave it to the government to treat such device purchases like they do guns (e.g. wait time between purchase and receipt to do a background check.)

  8. Using this stupidity, couldn’t we go after, say Ford Motor Co., for providing assistance to a terrorist who packs an F-250 full of explosives and parked it near a building. Ford neither set out to help a terrorist and provided the truck to all manner of people who used it for other means. We could likewise go after the maker of the paper which was used to plan the incident. If no one person built it, we can distribute responsibility all around. This stupidity that abounds these days really sucks!

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