Obama administration: We’re only demanding Apple hack just one iPhone

“A court order demanding that Apple Inc. help the U.S. government break into the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters opens a new chapter in the legal, political and technological fight pitting law enforcement against civil liberties advocates and major tech companies,” Jim Finkle and Dan Levine report for Reuters. “The government argues that the phone is a crucial piece of evidence in investigating one of the worst attacks in the United States by people who sympathized with Islamist militants. But privacy groups warn that forcing companies to crack their own encryption threatened not just the privacy of customers but potentially citizens of any country.”

“A federal judge in Los Angeles on Tuesday ordered Apple to provide “reasonable technical assistance” to investigators seeking to unlock the data on an iPhone 5C that had been used by Rizwan Farook, who along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people and wounded 22 others on Dec. 2 in San Bernardino, California,” Finkle and Levine report. “White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the Department of Justice was asking Apple for access to just one device, a central part of the government’s argument. ‘They are not asking Apple to redesign its product or to create a new backdoor to one of their products,” Earnest told reporters at the daily briefing. He said the case was about federal investigators learning “as much as they can about this one case” and “the president certainly believes that is an important national priority.'”

“Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said Tuesday’s court order threatened the security of its customers and had ‘implications far beyond the legal case at hand,'” Finkle and Levine report. “If the federal judge, Magistrate Sheri Pym, rejects Apple’s arguments, the company can appeal her order to the district court, and then up the chain to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court.”

“‘The 9th Circuit is known to be pro-privacy. “The government ultimately will have an uphill fight,’ said Robert Cattanach, a former Justice Department lawyer who advises companies on cyber security issues,” Finkle and Levine report. “Dan Guido, an expert in hacking operating systems, said… that only Apple can provide that software because the phones will only install updates that are digitally signed with a secret cryptographic key. ‘That key is one of the most valuable pieces of data the entire company owns,’ he said. ‘Someone with that key can change all the data on all the iPhones.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s not just one phone. Any random idiot should be able to grasp that simple fact. If they don’t seem to get it, look for ulterior motive(s).

There have been people that suggest that we should have a back door. But the reality is if you put a back door in, that back door’s for everybody, for good guys and bad guys. — Apple CEO Tim Cook, December 2015

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

Security firm shows how Apple could bypass iPhone security to comply with FBI request – February 17, 2016
What the Apple court order means for your smartphone privacy – February 17, 2016
EFF opposes U.S. government demand to force Apple to unlock terrorist’s iPhone – February 17, 2016
‘Who do they think they are?’ Donald Trump blasts Apple for not unlocking San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone – February 17, 2016
Tim Cook posts open letter opposing U.S. government demands to bypass iPhone encryption – February 17, 2016
Apple CEO opposes court order to help FBI unlock San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone – February 17, 2016
Apple wants judge to rule if it can be forced to unlock defendant’s iPhone – February 16, 2016
U.S. House lawmakers seek to outlaw states from banning encrypted iPhones – February 10, 2016
Obama administration wants access to smartphones – December 15, 2015
Obama administration’s calls for backdoors into encrypted communications echo Clinton-era key escrow fiasco – December 14, 2015
Donald Trump: To stop ISIS recruiting, maybe we should be talking to Bill Gates about ‘closing that Internet up in some way’ – December 8, 2015
Hillary Clinton: We need to put Silicon Valley tech firms to ‘work at disrupting ISIS’ – December 7, 2015
Apple CEO Cook: ‘You can’t have a back door that’s only for the good guys’ – November 21, 2015
Apple CEO Cook defends encryption, opposes back door for government spies – October 20, 2015
Do not let the government snoops weaken encryption – November 4, 2015
U.S. NSA seeks to build quantum computer to crack most types of encryption – January 3, 2014
Judge compares government request for Apple to access users’ iPhone data to execution order – October 27, 2015
U.S. judge expresses doubts over forcing Apple to unlock iPhone – October 26, 2015
Apple tells U.S. judge it can’t unlock iPhones running iOS 8 or higher – October 20, 2015
a href=”http://macdailynews.com/2015/10/20/apple-ceo-cook-defends-encryption-opposes-back-door-for-government-spies/”>Apple CEO Cook defends encryption, opposes back door for government spies – October 20, 2015
With Apple court order, activist federal judge seeks to fuel debate about data encryption – October 12, 2015
Judge declines to order Apple to disable security on device seized by U.S. government – October 10, 2015
Apple refused to give iMessages to the U.S. government – September 8, 2015
Obama administration war against Apple just got uglier – July 31, 2015
Edward Snowden: Apple is a privacy pioneer – June 5, 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


      1. All they need is the password for the iCloud account..which they can get from the perps computer..then they will have everything they need, and can even use a new phone to restore from an iCloud backup.

        1. OMG. You are so right!! You’re a genius! Why didn’t all those Apple engineers who have been helping the FBI for the last couple of months think of that. Publish your phone number on here, and I’ll make sure both Tim Cook and the FBI spooks get it.

          FYI, the “perps” smashed their other phones with hammers and the hard drive of their computer is missing. Police believed it may have been dumped in a lake, but divers failed to find it.

    1. You might want to consider the original source of the Patriot Act and when government surveillance rapidly ramped up. Then apply your anger to *everyone* in the government who deserves it on both sides of the political divide.

    1. COMPLICATED!? What part of “NO” don’t you understand xyz? Jesus jumped up CHRIST! NO!!!!!! I don’t want my personal information subject to potential back doors?! MY personal information is mine and I should maintain THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE WHO I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE THAT INFORMATION. APPLE has got my CONSTITUTION RIGHTS BACK!!! Ignoramus comes to mind xyz… Pathetic.


      1. Real street level investigations (RSLIs) are aimed at discovering evidence that can be used in court. Thirty years ago, a RSLI of fraud led to paper records; today, it will lead to an encrypted computer. A RSLI of child pornography led to dirty pictures; today, it leads to another encrypted device. Investigations of terrorism led to hand-written notes and tapped phone conversations; today, to a series of encrypted messages.

        I support Apple’s position, because I fear the consequences of the government position. Encryption is out of the bag and is never going back into it. It cannot be banned by decree, any more than the government can just pass a law against storm tides. However, the threat inherent in widespread access to essentially uncrackable encryption is very real. It is making our lives more private but less safe. That has to be OK, since it is unavoidable, but it is clearly not a win-win situation

        1. criminals can buy third party encryption devices and software. It’s the general public who is vulnerable.

          Terrorists are generally very well informed and trained, if they figure govts. can crack their phones they will just install third party encryption software. Meanwhile hundreds of millions of blissfully unaware phone users would be vulnerable to criminal hackers.

          1. That misses half the point, Minky. What if it was victims’ phones that held the info, not the bad-guys’? What if your daughter was abducted, raped, mutilated and murdered, and the contact details of who she went to meet were on her iphone. Or what if she was just abducted, and the info on her phone could help rescue her before she was raped, mutilated and murdered? Victims don’t typically use third party encryption. Are you prepared to sacrifice your daughter to a hellish death for the sake of this principle?
            Just for the record, I think Apple is in the right. But it’s not as clear-cut as some would like to believe.

            1. if Apple and the authorities can break into the phone so can criminals.

              are you willing to lack hackers (who are getting smarter every year, many of whom were trained by sophisticated foreign government programs) get access to your info as well which will happen if a backdoor exists.

              Are you willing to let your bank, credit including your retirement investments (funds, 401 k) etc be vulnerable. You can have your entire life wiped out.

              as for your ‘daughter’ example, I’m sorry but a corporation can’t put some in danger (from some safety lack in the device like poor encryption ) to protect some others (from dangers NOT DIRECTLY ASSOCIATED WITH THE DEVICE like being kidnapped). Training your daughter to be more careful maybe is better than depending on ‘don’t worry the phone is easy to crack and we can find out who she going out with when she’s kidnapped’ (as you say she’s meeting questionable people whose names are on the phone) .


      2. The Gubbermint has misused, abused, and engaged in some of the most OUTRAGEOUS illegal conduct over the last 10 years to wit— NSA, DEA, FBI, IRS, Lerner, Attkinson, DOJ, Tea Party supression etc etc etc……….

        Their unrepentant, unabated conduct has now earned them the universal “Hell NO” response……..you know that if the tech industry crumbles then the “me-too” BS will start unabated….Never mind the Chinese, Russians, and assorted other 3-4th world dictators, despots, and mutants….!!!!

        Encryption and “burner phones” have been around for YEARS!!

        And for the TSA–“it’s for our safety” crowd I say BS.

        Feds get off your azzzzzzzzzzzz and go recruit sources/informants and metadata sources; get out of the office and away from your desktop….

        Use your GS-1811 taxpayer provided G-car for something other than stopping for groceries on the way home or dropping kids at school…..

    2. Obviously, Apple does not want the public to know they already have back doors and Apple can snoop all they want into our accounts. Apple takes the same position as our military by denying that “they know”.

      I have seen “impossible-to-retrieve” passwords from servers get retrieved. There is a backdoor for everything. Let’s not be so naive.

    1. There is no ignorance here. He and the administration (including the NSA, who have got to be neck deep in this) know better. This is completely intentional, and the comment, “It’s only the one iPhone” is part of the sales job to the public to back this effort. God, I hope the American public is smart enough to see through this and steadfast enough to resist it.

  1. I don’t recall the lawsuit stating that this case should not be used as a precedent, and that the government will respect the rights of Apple’s customers in every other case.

  2. The answer is pretty obvious – do what the judge asked “reasonable technical assistance”.
    That means see if they can unlock the phone under the existing set up and if they can’t then say sorry this is the best we can do. If a back door does not exist they cannot change the phones security if it is locked.

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