Apple is right, the U.S. government demand would make us all less secure

“There’s a war going on,” Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld. “You’re part of it and, like it or not, you’re going to have to take sides.”

“What am I talking about? I’m talking about global government in its creeping attack on encryption, because the governments are calling this wrong. They are using arguments of national security to advance an agenda that ultimately leaves us all less secure,” Evans writes. “They say they want Apple to create a way to break into a criminal’s iPhone.”

“If Apple is forced to comply with this demand, then every other tech firm will be bought into line. Apple is only a poster child in this exchange,” Evans writes. “In the long-term, this attack on encryption will make us all more insecure and could have incredibly drastic impacts on the way we live, on our basic freedoms… What is being asked for here will do little to make us safer, and everything to make us more insecure. I urge a different course.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As was often the case, Benjamin Franklin said it best:

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

SEE ALSO:
How Apple will fight the DOJ in iPhone backdoor case: U.S. government’s position stands on 227 year old law – February 18, 2016
USA Today alters logo to support Apple in fight against U.S. government overreach – February 18, 2016
Obama administration claims FBI is not asking Apple for a ‘backdoor’ to the iPhone – February 18, 2016
Privacy activists plan rallies across U.S. to support Apple in battle against U.S. government on February 23rd – February 18, 2016
Google CEO Sundar Pichai wishy-washy on Apple’s fight against U.S. government backdoor demands – February 18, 2016
Why Apple is fighting back against U.S. federal government demands for iPhone access – February 17, 2016
Snowden backs Apple in fight over iPhone; blasts Google’s silence – February 17, 2016
Obama administration: We’re only demanding Apple hack just one iPhone – February 17, 2016
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

21 Comments

      1. …which is strange, considering how Republicans like to pretend they hate big government overreach. The truth is that they LOVE government overreach anytime it suits their agenda.

  1. Government can search my home with the proper court order. The most privet place to me .
    Government can tap my land line with court order. And has for decades with proper court order.
    Government can confiscate my computets with proper court order and search the HD… ( iphone is pocket computer )

    Where is the public paranoia about the above ? … ….

    This is not an either or case …… Its way more complex and consequential to just leave it in hands of dogmatic idealism .

    Creat the proper provisions and everyone wins.

    Times changes… so should we… … Thats fundimental to survival.

    In the meanwhile apple is loving the Publicity .. ;)……. It may even all be by design ……..

    All this the world will be an insecure place if a court order will allow a phone to be unlocked .. Is pure paranoia and a PR game and a political ploy….

    Read the above again before u freak out.
    90% of wolds computers, specially in the business and government areas are and have been run on windows… Fyi. For decades.

    1. “Government can search my home with the proper court order…”

      Right, but government can’t touch your guns, and you can buy them at Walmart. But trying to buy marijuana will land you in jail.

      It’s all a question of moral priorities, and Jeb Bush said it right with “Gun=America”. You’re saying government can take your iPhone, but don’t touch my gun…

      1. Gun control didn’t stop Paris attacks

        Did your French gun control stop a single fucking person from dying at the Bataclan? And if anyone can answer yes, I’d like to hear it, because I don’t think so. I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that I’ve ever seen in my life charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms… Until nobody has guns, everybody has to have them. Because I don’t ever want to see anything like this ever happen again and I want everyone to have the best chance to live. — Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes

        1. His comments have been widely condemned in Europe and there is very little support for his views and he has now diminished his stature in many eyes. Everybody can see that in a society where everybody has guns, vastly more people die from shootings.

          It’s also widely noted that in the US where you have a mass shooting incidents averaging averaging one per week, very few of them have been stopped by armed members of the public shooting back at the perpetrators, even though guns are readily available.

    2. It was not too long ago that many state and federal governments and law enforcements officials were demanding that Apple make their phones less vulnerable to theft. Apple responded with iOS 7 which enabled the phone to be rendered useless with the Find my iPhone app on another device or through iCloud.com, unless the Apple ID and password originally associated with the device was input and the feature turned off prior to being resold. These features were heralded by the pundits, law enforcement officials, and government officials as the smartphone industry moving in the right direction. iOS 8 created a secure enclave that automatically encrypted the data on the phone accessible via the 4-digit passcode, with the option to change it to a complex password in settings. Once again, a step in the right direction. Not only is the device rendered useless upon theft, providing initial deterrence against quick-cash sales of stolen devices, but the personally identifiable information held within it could no longer be accessible to criminals, reducing higher profile crimes like fraud, blackmail, stalking, impersonation, and more. The problem with this solution, which Apple designed as a way to put the security of ones device into the hands of the individual, is both the good and bad individuals that use these devices are now protected. Creating a master key for law enforcement would remove all the protections that were developed to protect both device and data contained therein. iPhone thefts would go through the roof again, attacks on individuals would become more frequent as criminals would begin to target those individuals again due to their inherent high resell value. This is the worst case scenario. How do I know that law enforcement would leak the key? ….do I really have to answer that?! On another note, if Apple unlocks just one device then the precedent would force them to unlock a million more with nothing protecting the remaining 99% of consumers that purchase their products from the improper usage of that key as those protection would then be vulnerable by a determined black hat hacker and or criminal. We would also be calling for the criminal prosecution of Apple for having left its users vulnerable. No one wants a preventable crime to be committed but it should be noted that—according to a few articles by cnet and huffpost that I quickly researched—iPhone thefts and the assaults, up to and including murder, that occurs as the result of it dropped by 25, 40, and 50% in New York, San Francisco, and London, respectively, the year after the implementation of iOS 7 and the “kill switch”. Upon the implementation of the kill switch in iOS 7 violent crime targeting Samsung/android phones that did not have similar protections went up 40% in New York during that same time period. I could go on a spiel of Apple devices being better for your health but I will save that for another time. Any solution to an issue that creates more harm then good in the long term must be identified as such and scrapped.

  2. Every jerkwater DA of every city has been pushing Apple for access the the iPhone of suspected criminals, citing dire consequences for all of us if this isn’t done. This is not about one case and never has been. The cost of this type of safety makes Google and all the other for-profit data miners look like the angels they portray themselves as. I applaud Apple and Tim Cook. This is like giving a person a lethal dose of arsenic to prevent them from dying of pneumonia.

  3. as I wrote yesterday :

    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.

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

    are you willing to let 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.( do you realize foreign governments and independent hackers are continually trying to hack the countries infrastructure? Banks, government departments say nearly every week there’s an attempt to hack into their systems. Foreign governments do it to prepare protocols for war — i.e in war they will try to bring the infrastructure down. So there are thousands of well trained hackers out there who might have left govt. service besides the independent ones all looking for an opening to get at your stuff ).

    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. Multiply these with hundreds of millions of vulnerable iPhone users.

    what if every foreign country like Russia also wants access to the ‘backdoor’ ? Apple sells to about 100 countries ….

    Can Apple reasonably deny these foreign governments if they allow the USA in? Note Apple makes two thirds of its money overseas. Supposing a foreign govt. asks for the ‘pass key’ threatening to ban Apple otherwise?

    The Snowden leaks showed that the USA government had hacked into the German government, and even tapped the Chancellor of Germany’s phone… (and Germany is an Ally with vast security resources… )

    Remember when those CELEBRITIES got their Apple iCloud accounts hacked — compromising photos leaked — did anybody — politicians , FBI ETC PRAISE APPLE for weak defences ? Nope everybody, including the security services attacked Apple for having WEAK protocols. when the shit hits the fan NOBODY will take responsibility , just watch.

    ALSO SUPPOSED SOMEONE HACKS INTO YOUR PHONE AND GETS DETAILS OF YOUR DAUGHTER’S SCHEDULE and PHOTO and then uses the ELECTRONIC PASSKEY he’s stolen from your phone to OPEN YOUR FRONT DOOR and THEN KIDNAPS HER ? will Apple be liable?

    1. Silicon Valley lawmaker backs Apple in terror case

      ““Our police and intelligence services must not be allowed to force Apple to create software or hardware that would usher in the opportunity for hackers to violate the iPhone,” Honda said.

      Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), whose district includes Silicon Valley, on Thursday backed Apple as it battles against a court order to unlock one of the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhones….

      The lawmaker cited numerous historical examples where the government violated people’s “fundamental rights” in the name of national security, including blacklists during the 1950s Red Scare and the Japanese-American internment camps during World War II, which Honda personally experienced in childhood.”

      http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/269915-silicon-valley-house-member-backs-apple-in-terror-case

  4. «/ Evans writes. “They say they want Apple to create a way to break into a criminal’s iPhone.” /»
    That speaks to the fact “they” don’t have the competency to do what they want Apple to do.
    I recall the American, Russian and Chinese governments banning the use of iPhones by government employees because they are supposedly not secure enough. Curious. Given their pronouncements, you’d think they would have no trouble at all breaking into an iPhone?

  5. First of all, the San Bernadino shooters used Automatic Assault Rifles to kill their victims. No iPhones were used to shoot anybody. Ever. So what has the FBI done about assault rifles? Nothing. How about apartments stuffed with ammo. Nothing. As usual.

    Secondly, last year the IRS got hacked and lost confidential tax information on hundreds of thousands of people. They (the government) routinely gets hacked. They said their files were safe. Nice. Are you sure you want to let them have the keys to your confidential iPhone data? Do you remember the various hacks that have taken government data? There’s been plenty.
    But the government will continue to act righteous on this.

  6. First of all, it is a shame that the problem is in the open. Would it not have been far more preferable for the FBI and Apple to work together behind closed doors? We aren’t talking about, for instance, the IRS wanting Apple to break into a tax evader’s iPhone. I would firmly oppose anything like that! This is something much bigger. It involves national security. To those who would say that once you allow this, no matter how noble the cause seemingly is, integrity and trust for all iPhone users is compromised, what about the “ticking time bomb scenario”? 100,000 Americans are going to be killed if a message on a terrorist’s iPhone cannot be accessed. Would those of you defending Apple against the FBI still maintain Apple is right and thus allow all these people to die? And this argument of Cook’s about the bad things which would follow if Apple installed a “back door” because that software would get out. I am not saying Apple should have “back doors” in their software or operating systems. Instead, what I am saying is that this is a “straw man” argument. That’s because there is no need for Apple to release software or anything else to the FBI. If a genuine national security case is involved and a federal court decides that information on an iPhone is vital to know, the FBI should be able to take the iPhone to Apple and have them return it the FBI with the results wanted. Apple would retain the knowledge on how to do it, nobody would know they were asked and national security would be protected!

    1. but is the FBI (govt.) case TRUE?

      some security experts have already said they can open up the iPhone WITHOUT Apple’s help (see below).
      but the procedure takes time, needs expertise and is costly.
      They’ve said that the FBI (govt.) is deliberately using this EMOTIONAL USA terrorism case to pry Apple open SO THAT IT CAN USE THE SOFTWARE ELSEWHERE and allow them the ‘Magic Key’ . Once this case is done, they will use it over and over again saying ‘Apple can do it’, it’s SLIPPERY SLOPE with GRAVITY DOWNHILL. Starts with ‘terrorism’, goes to ‘National Security’ , then ‘Serious Crime’ then ‘Public Disorder’ then to the whims of the FBI (Remember EDGAR HOOVER?), the CIA, and any senator, congressman, mayor with influence with an ax to grind.

      —–
      Apple Insider:

      “McAfee, an eccentric millionaire (creator of the antivirus software) ….. believes that he and his team could hack into the iPhone in question without the need for a new, insecure version of iOS to be built by Apple. He shared his thoughts in an editorial published by Tech Insider.
      “I would eat my shoe on the Neil Cavuto show if we could not break the encryption on the San Bernardino phone. This is a pure and simple fact.” – John McAfee
      The former antivirus creator believes his team would be able to decrypt the information from the iPhone 5c at the center of the case within three weeks…

      McAfee argued that allowing him to unlock the iPhone free of charge will negate the need for Apple to go down a dangerous path, building a backdoor into iOS to allow access to investigators.

      “If the government succeeds in getting this back door, it will eventually get a back door into all encryption, and our world, as we know it, is over,” he wrote”

      http://appleinsider.com/articles/16/02/18/john-mcafee-offers-to-decrypt-iphone-used-by-san-bernardino-terrorists-criticizes-fbi

      1. maybe I’m not clear with “Once this case is done, they will use it over and over again saying ‘Apple can do it’,”

        what I’m saying is that it WILL SET A PRECEDENT.

        once a precedent is set and it’s shown Apple can do it who will then decide WHAT IS DANGEROUS ENOUGH? those people I mentioned: FBI, CIA , politicians will then slowly force their own agenda and use the courts as ‘it’s been done before’.
        I’ve lived long enough to know you will put checks on government. Remember they said the ‘Vietnam War ‘ was necessary for the USA as well…

        also it’s a danger that third parties might get hold of it.
        what about OTHER COUNTRIES demanding the same privileges? like I said in my earlier post Apple sells to 100 countries or so.

        1. The NRA has successfully defended Americans’ civil liberties using the slippery slope argument, even in the face of emotional anguish over mass killings of school children. The EFF and all other privacy advocacy groups combined can make an identical slippery slope argument, but have negligible lobbying power. A massive public outcry, such as happened during the Vietnam war, is the only other deterrent to an out-of-control government. I worry that American consumers are a complacent lot, though. I also worry that presidential candidates will exploit the issue for their personal political gain, weakening the moral ground the rest of us all hope to stand on when this is over.

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