NY Times Op-Ed calls for Apple to decrypt iPhones for law enforcement

“Last September, Apple and Google, whose operating systems are used in 96 percent of smartphones worldwide, announced that they had re-engineered their software with ‘full-disk’ encryption, and could no longer unlock their own products as a result,” Cyrus R. Vance Jr., François Molins, Adrian Leppard and Javier Zaragoza write for The New York Times.

MacDailyNews Take: To be clear: As usual, Apple did this first and, as usual, Google chimed in “me too” in order to not look bad, even though it’ll take them years to roll it out, if they ever do, while virtually every Apple iOS user already has it.

“According to Apple’s website: ‘On devices running iOS 8.0 … Apple will not perform iOS data extractions in response to government search warrants because the files to be extracted are protected by an encryption key that is tied to the user’s passcode, which Apple does not possess,'” Vance Jr., Molins, Leppard and Zaragoza write. “Now, on behalf of crime victims the world over, we are asking whether this encryption is truly worth the cost.”

“Between October and June, 74 iPhones running the iOS 8 operating system could not be accessed by investigators for the Manhattan district attorney’s office — despite judicial warrants to search the devices,” Vance Jr., Molins, Leppard and Zaragoza write. “The investigations that were disrupted include the attempted murder of three individuals, the repeated sexual abuse of a child, a continuing sex trafficking ring and numerous assaults and robberies.”

More blah, blah, blah 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” horseshit, then they moved on to legal threats. Now, out-of-the-box thinkers that they are, they’re right back to the “think of the children” horseshit.

As we wrote back in September 2014:

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.

Here’s an idea: The U.S. federal government should adhere to the U.S. Constitution and governments everywhere should respect their citizen’s rights.

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

Because the U.S. government spooks trampled all over the U.S. Constitution, constantly demanding that Apple grant access to customers devices, Apple decided to remove themselves for the equation. And so, the government reaps what it hath sown. We guess law enforcement will have to do some old-fashioned leg work if they want to crack cases.

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.

A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy.

At Apple, your trust means everything to us. That’s why we respect your privacy and protect it with strong encryption, plus strict policies that govern how all data is handled.

Security and privacy are fundamental to the design of all our hardware, software, and services, including iCloud and new services like Apple Pay. And we continue to make improvements. Two-step verification, which we encourage all our customers to use, in addition to protecting your Apple ID account information, now also protects all of the data you store and keep up to date with iCloud.

We believe in telling you up front exactly what’s going to happen to your personal information and asking for your permission before you share it with us. And if you change your mind later, we make it easy to stop sharing with us. Every Apple product is designed around those principles. When we do ask to use your data, it’s to provide you with a better user experience.

We’re publishing this website to explain how we handle your personal information, what we do and don’t collect, and why. We’re going to make sure you get updates here about privacy at Apple at least once a year and whenever there are significant changes to our policies.

A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.

Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.

One very small part of our business does serve advertisers, and that’s iAd. We built an advertising network because some app developers depend on that business model, and we want to support them as well as a free iTunes Radio service. iAd sticks to the same privacy policy that applies to every other Apple product. It doesn’t get data from Health and HomeKit, Maps, Siri, iMessage, your call history, or any iCloud service like Contacts or Mail, and you can always just opt out altogether.

Finally, I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will.

Our commitment to protecting your privacy comes from a deep respect for our customers. We know that your trust doesn’t come easy. That’s why we have and always will work as hard as we can to earn and keep it.

Tim

SEE ALSO:
Obama administration war against Apple just got uglier – July 31, 2015
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
Apple’s iPhone encryption is a godsend, even if government snoops and cops hate it – October 8, 2014
Short-timer U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder blasts Apple for protecting users’ privacy against government overreach – September 30, 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
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 will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for government, police – even with search warrants – 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
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, Google, others call for government surveillance reform – December 9, 2013
Apple’s iMessage encryption trips up U.S. feds’ surveillance – April 4, 2013

58 Comments

  1. Don’t bother signing any nondisclosure agreements if your smartphone is unencrypted because you cannot guarantee nondisclosure of corporate secrets or identity theft with swiss cheese.

  2. The “checks and balances” concept bin American governance was meant to ensure that “search and seizure”, as defined in the fourth amendment to the constitution, can only be done when government agent(s) present a probable cause, and obtain an approval for the search by a proper independent judicial institution. Under such ideal conditions, I’m sure most readers here would have no reason to deny the permission to decrypt a terrorist’s iPhone.

    The Patriot act turned that system into a joke. There is no transparency, no proper judicial process and government agents simply go through private property with no oversight whatsoever.

    As long as such is the state of affairs, Apple has every reason to be suspicious of government requests for decryption. Until the system becomes truly transparent, Apple should keep any and all encryption keys in the hands of its users.

    1. How do you feel about the ‘seizure’ part of the 4th? Do you feel Apple should comply with freezing/controlling access to any accounts/services linked to the device in question under Apple’s control given a proper warrant? ‘Seizure’ normally entails the owner/user losing access to the items seized after all.

  3. The “for the children” meme is nothing but BS because people are FED UP with the USG ILLEGAL misconduct and weaponization of the USG against the people……for the low info demo think about the NSA, IRS, DEA, TSA theater, etc etc etc…….”trust us, we know what is best”….BULLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!
    Sorry, your abusive BS has been called out!!!!

  4. WE should just be like Hillary and open all our unencrypted files to China and Russia. Waiting for the wiki leaks drop. Maybe they are waiting until just before the election. I guess Hill was doing all this from her Iphone. So that side is safe from the point in time of Apple encryption.

  5. This is an op-Ed and was not written by the NY Times. The op-Ed is also complete bullshit. Go over to The Intercept and read a column that completely destroys this bullshit argument from lazy cops, DAs, spies and politicians who think your privacy is no big deal.

    The public is concerned about privacy because they found out government is wiping their ass with the Bill of Rights.

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