In FBI vs. Apple, Judge Sheri Pym asks for technological details

“The judge overseeing a U.S. government attempt to force Apple Inc to unlock an encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters made it clear she expected a full briefing on the technological details involved in prosecutors’ request,” Dan Levine and Sue Horton report for Reuters.

“During a telephone conference with attorneys in the case last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym said Apple should have enough time to present ‘what technically is involved here,’ along with its legal arguments,” Levine and Horton report. “Reuters obtained an audio recording of the conference, which lasted just under 30 minutes, from the court on Wednesday. The judge and the attorneys focused on procedural details and timing.”

“During the phone conference, which was held two days after Pym issued the order, prosecutors informed the judge and Apple attorneys that the government intended to file an additional motion to compel, in which it would ask the judge to again order Apple’s compliance,” Levine and Horton report. “Pym questioned the necessity of the government’s filing. ‘I am a little confused about the motion to compel, just because the order in place is actually an order compelling,’ Pym said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: You’re confused Sherri, and not just a little. Go read the U.S. Constitution. It tells you all you need to know.

Apple said to be prepping iOS version that even it can’t hack – February 25, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook says iPhone-cracking software the ‘equivalent of cancer’ – February 24, 2016
Apple vs. FBI iPhone battle shows users remain the weakest link in security – February 24, 2016
Apple’s fight with U.S. could speed development of devices impervious to government intrusion – February 24, 2016
Apple to argue that FBI court order violates its free-speech rights – February 24, 2016
Apple, the U.S. government, and security – February 24, 2016
Congressman Ted Lieu asks FBI to drop demand that Apple hack iPhones – February 23, 2016
In the fight to hack iPhones, the U.S. government has more to lose than Apple – February 23, 2016
Here are the 12 other cases where the U.S. government has demanded Apple help it hack into iPhones – February 23, 2016
John McAfee blasts FBI for ‘illiterate’ order to create Apple iPhone backdoor – February 23, 2016
Some family members of San Bernardino victims back U.S. government – February 23, 2016
Apple supporters to rally worldwide today against U.S. government demand to unlock iPhone – February 23, 2016
U.S. government seeks to force Apple to extract data from a dozen more iPhones – February 23, 2016
Apple CEO Cook: They’d have to cart us out in a box before we’d create a backdoor – February 22, 2016
Tim Cook’s memo to Apple employees: ‘This case is about more than a single phone’ – February 22, 2016
Obama administration: We’re only demanding Apple hack just one iPhone – February 17, 2016>


    1. That’s an interesting way to put it but I disagree. I remember distinctly what I say when I got a phone call about the second 9/11… “What took them so long.”

      You see they have been at war for as long at your country has been at war, i.e. since the day your nation was created. That makes you both a problem for peace loving people of the free and civilized world.

      Now you might raise your fist in anger at me, I mean peace, love, those are such threats to your nation right now, words that will instigate violence for sure, though right now, any words will instigate violence on that powder keg nation of yours, muslims, blacks, turban wearers, redheads, lefties, righties but at the end of the conspiracies, racism, and war on isms, they are all people and that’s exactly what the real issue is in my opinion.

      Too many people in overcrowded conditions are bringing on the collapse in behavior known as the behavioral sink. So the beatings will continue until the attitude and the population level changes.

      1. It is not quite that simple, Road Warrior. While I share your concern about global overpopulation and extreme concentrations of humans at the regional and local levels, that is only one part of the problem.

        As you stated in your own post, any countries have been at war since the day they were founded. The world population was much, much lower a couple of hundred years ago, and even lower a thousand years ago, yet people still found reasons to engage in war.

        Lack of resources, catastrophic natural events (volcanos, climate changes, extended drought, etc.), insatiable greed for wealth and power, systems of government that relied upon conquest and loot, slavery, racism, and religious conflicts are only a few in a long list of reasons that people use as justification for war.

    2. We have a Muslim problem because we have a “blowback” problem caused by our past policies to depress all alternatives to oil. And when a government takes away inalienable rights to save their oil agenda then we have a fascism problem.

      I do believe one of the reasons why the government is going after Apple is because of the Apple Car. Maybe they have discovered that Apple has invented something game changing.

  1. It’s good that she is asking for the technological details too.

    They will establish the amount of resources and work the FBI request requires from Apple and will also clarify that there is no way this can be a contained effort that does not pass through tens if mot hundreds of people in the process.

    Obviously the constitutional civil and privacy rights need to be upheld at all costs, regardless.

    1. If you look at most government facilities, you will mostly see beige boxes running an outdated (redundant) version of Windows.

      Windows the lowest bidder for government desktops!

    1. No, I don’t think so. I think she’s just being careful and wanting to consider all the evidence. Her first ruling was on a motion from the government but she has given Apple plenty of time to file an objection. That’s how the system works. It’s conceivable that, once she hears all the evidence, she will rule for Apple. Wouldn’t that be an interesting turn of events!

  2. Because of who I work with, I come down generally on the side of law enforcement.

    Having said that: Law Enforcement should realize that they too have available the privacy afforded by unhackable systems.

    Use it as a tool to fight crime. Think about it.

  3. What people keep forgetting is that the FBI is not asking Apple to hack one iPhone in a black box and just hand over the data. The FBI is asking for an “instrument” to use to crack iPhones – in essence they are asking for a hacking tool. The FBI would be in possession of this tool and used at its discretion.

    A tool no doubt that would slip into the wild.

    1. I think you were alluding to this, but by merit of being an instrument it inherently *has* to be peer reviewed and made available to everyone.

      it’d be like if Coca-cola was forced to provide their secret formula in open court. It’s just that one case, but it doesn’t mean everyone won’t know how to make coke at home.

      1. Well, that’s if it is going to be used to provide evidence in court. Once the FBI has the instrument, it could be that this will be handed over to other agencies that aren’t so concerned about courts and evidence and trials.
        Also, it’s very likely that the courts will gradually go along with the continuing erosion of rules intended to increase the reliability of evidence. The exceptions already outweigh the rules in many cases, leading to “expert” advice based on theories that are bad science (by which I mean _not_ science).

  4. I don’t think Judge Sherri’s Pymple will be looking at the only the constipation but any precedent to take Apple employees and put them into a forced labor camp to do the FBI’s work. Fortunately there is a legal precedence.

  5. I Found the Passcode!
    by Dan Scanlan

    I did it! I figured out the six digit passcode the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been seeking! The need to hassle Apple, Inc. and cause so much dismay and fear of the loss of privacy among the citizenry is gone.

    Here’s how I did it: First I added J. Edgar Hoover’s age when he took over the “Radical Division” of the Justice Department — 24 — to the year he took over, 1917, the year the FBI was created, 1927, the number of years he ruled, 48, and the number of wiretaps he placed on the NAACP, 3000. Then I multiplied the numbers together and added the product.

    Next, I added in the 3,165 FBI file pages on Martin Luther King, Jr., and his birth year, 1929. I multiplied them and added the product. Then I added the 17,000 pages the FBI has on American Indian activist and poet John Trudell, and 1979 for the year he burned a flag on the steps of FBI headquarters in Washington DC which was followed immediately by an arson fire at his home on a Nevada reservation that killed his three children, his wife and mother-in-law. The FBI refused to investigate, and I added 5 to the sum, multiplied those numbers together and added them to the total.

    The FBI executed 21-year-old activist Fred Hampton in his bed in the middle of the night in Chicago, after providing FBI informant and provocateur William O’Neal with seco-barbitol to surreptitiously drug Hampton so he wouldn’t awaken during the raid, so I added the year, 1969, his age, and 5000 for the number who attended his funeral and 1,850,000 for the dollars the government had to pay in settlement for Hampton’s execution. Again I multiplied and added the product to the mix.

    I added the 4,400 pages the FBI had on John Kennedy, his death date; the 1000 pages they had on Jackie Kennedy and her death date; and the 50 pages they had accumulated on Lee Harvey Oswald before others killed Kennedy. I added their product to the sum.

    I added the year 1996 when Geronimo Pratt was released from prison after 27 years, eight of them in solitary confinement, and 4,500,000, the number of dollars the FBI and LAPD paid Pratt in a settlement for framing him for a crime he didn’t do.

    To the mix I added 1975, the year the FBI framed Leonard Peltier for a crime it instigated when it sent 150 FBI agents onto Pine Ridge reservation with an anti-Indian terrorist group who called itself GOONS, and added the 140,000 pages of FBI files they withheld from Peltier’s defense attorneys. I added the 40 years he has spent in prison, multiplied the numbers and added the product.

    The total grew to a 10-digit number, but I wasn’t done.

    In 1990 the Forest Forever Initiative was on the California ballot and was winning. Then somebody, perhaps an FBI provocateur, placed a bomb under her car seat that exploded when a ball bearing rolled onto a switch as she rounded a corner in Oakland CA. The word “eco-terrorist” came into use by the FBI and she was accused of accidentally bombing herself. So I added the numbers 130 for the Proposition, 1990 for the year, and 4,400,000 for the number of dollars the FBI and the Oakland Police had to pay Judi and her fellow musician Darryl Cherney for falsely accusing them. Again the numbers were multiplied and their product added to the total. The FBI has never investigated the bombing. Too much exposure, I reckon.

    I added in the number 1967 for the year the FBI created its COINTELPRO—BLACK HATE program, 113,000 for the number of non-profit social welfare groups whose confidential tax returns they seized from the IRS illegally, the 10,000 cases being reviewed because of false testimony from FBI agents and faked lab results by FBI evidence processors, 3,000,000,000, a number that approximates its budget, and 4,600,000, the number of dollars it paid to a scientist it falsely accused of executing the anthrax letters that went along with the fear-building 9/11 operation.

    I selected a few more significant numbers, added, multiplied and added again and came up with a final total of 444,770,281,921. To keep this project on an unbiased, scientific plateau, I calculated the square root of the final total ‘cause that’s what scientists do, and, voila! — It generated the passcode the FBI needs so badly.

    I give to you now: 666911

    Dan Scanlan

    Feb 24, 2015
    Nevada City CA

  6. Am I missing something in this whole brouhaha? The government had possession of the bodies, so why didn’t they just unlock the phone with the dead man’s thumb? I don’t get it.

  7. It’s entirely reasonable for this judge to ask for more technical details.

    And no, the Constitution doesn’t include anything about smartphones…and this is not a slam dunk either way.

    This is a fascinating, complex case testing where we want to draw the line between privacy and security. There usually is a trade off. We make it every day in many ways. We don’t live in a police state, but we don’t live in anarchy either: we do allow for law enforcement, and we do give them some powers.

  8. As a member of the U.S. judiciary, Judge Pym has taken an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. That’s the rubric under which this case will be judged so why is she wasting her time on irrelevancies such as technological minutiae?

  9. If this hasn’t already been mentioned, Apple’s best legal defense would probably be the 4th amendment. Considering the scope an iPhone decryption tool could have, it could be considered unreasonable search and seizure.

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