Manhattan D.A. claims Apple is crippling investigations across the country

“New York’s top prosecutor says that Apple’s encryption is hindering criminal investigations everywhere,” David Goldman reports for CNNMoney.

“‘Apple’s encryption policy frustrates the ability of law enforcement to prevent, investigate, and prosecute criminals, including the very hackers that Apple claims it wants to protect users against,’ Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance wrote in prepared testimony set to be delivered at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday,” Goldman reports. “Vance said iPhone encryption ‘cripples even the most basic steps of a criminal investigation,’ and it also prevents law enforcement from exonerating innocent people suspected of crimes.”

Goldman reports, “For example, Vance said his office has been frustrated in prosecuting three attempted murder suspects, people accused of sexually abusing a child, child pornographers, people charged with assault, robbers, and identity thieves among others.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: 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.

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

To set a stronger alphanumeric passcode on your iOS device that cannot be easily brute-forced:

1. Settings > Touch ID & Passcode. On devices without Touch ID, go to Settings > Passcode
2. Tap Change Passcode
3. Tap Passcode Options to switch to a custom alphanumeric code
4. Enter your new, stronger passcode again to confirm it and activate it

SEE ALSO:
Apple CEO Cook decried Obama’s ‘lack of leadership’ on encryption during a closed-door meeting last month – February 29, 2016
Apple’s top lawyer: U.S. government order weakens security for all iPhones – February 29, 2016
Apple CEO Cook decried Obama’s ‘lack of leadership’ on encryption during a closed-door meeting last month – February 29, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook can probably defy the US government all he wants and not go to jail – February 29, 2016
Apple CEO Cook picks up where Snowden left off in privacy debate – February 29, 2016
Obama administration set to expand sharing of data that N.S.A. intercepts – February 28, 2016
If Apple loses, your home could be the next thing that’s unlocked: Access to your security cameras would be just a judge order away – February 28, 2016
The Apple vs. FBI fight is about something more basic than software and laws – February 28, 2016
Apple privacy battle with Washington looms as watershed moment – February 26, 2016
Apple’s lawyer: If we lose, it will lead to a ‘police state’ – February 26, 2016
Apple: The law already exists that protects us from U.S. government demands to hack iPhone – February 26, 2016

24 Comments

  1. If anyone wonders how the magnitude of AAPL stock manipulation occurs with such ongoing regularity, despite stellar fundamentals, and how it evades SEC or DOJ scrutiny….it should now be clear that it is approved if not perpetuated by the US government.

    1. Yes, I would trust a DA. During the 30 years I was a prosecutor, I met thousands of men and women who had given up much higher salaries in private practice just so they could feel good about serving the public. I also met a handful who were really bad news. Would you trust a priest or minister? Some of them are bad. Would you trust a doctor? Some of them are bad. Prosecutors are only human, so why single out them for treatment as subhuman?

      I agree 100% with Apple in the San Bernardino case because the Justice Department’s suggested cure is worse than the disease. It would ultimately make us all less secure and less safe, even apart from the invasion of privacy.

      However, I disagree with MDN and most of the posters here with their claim that there isn’t a disease. Most inoculations have side effects, and some vaccines are too unsafe to put on the market… but that isn’t an argument in favor of measles and smallpox.

      There really are child pornographers who are getting away with it because the illegal images are sent and stored with end-to-end encryption. Yes, the Justice Department assault on Apple is probably a more dangerous cure than the disease, but that doesn’t mean that child porn doesn’t exist or that strong encryption isn’t making it an easier crime to commit.

      There really are terrorists out there. I agree with Apple that the chance of catching one by providing a back door is less than the risk of cyberterrorism if the bad guys can crack our government, business, and personal encryption. That does not mean that terrorism does not exist or is not a problem or that strong encryption as a generic concept is not making that problem harder to solve.

      I could go on and list kidnapping, financial schemes, and other crimes that are more difficult to prosecute now than they were before cell phones and computers existed.

      This take is just ridiculous!

  2. “prevents law enforcement from exonerating innocent people…”

    Guilty until proven innocent?

    Oh yes, we have to take into consideration ‘the seriousness of the charge’. /s

    1. “prevents law enforcement from exonerating innocent people…”

      Yes, but only when you realize that what statement is really saying is that they’re admitting that they’re broadly surveilling the entire public.

  3. Considering that Apple’s security has helped with stolen and lost mobile units, primarily smartphones, cost customers more than $30 billion in 2012 according to the FCC (see Apple has just about killed the iPhone crime wave by Johnny Evans) it looks like some like Vance want it both ways. Newsflash Vance, no iPhone security = lots of iPhone thefts (with assault and possibly murder to spice up some cases) not to mention what a bunch of initialed organizations will once they can hack into it and violate people’s privacy. On the other hand iPhone security = security. Live with it Vance. It’s a technology, and it ain’t going away.

    Now if you are frustrated by prosecuting people where you just can’t get the information, how about prosecuting people where you can the information. G.W. Bush comes to mind, and you happen to have a War Crimes Act. Use it, prove to the free and civilized world that you still have a vestigial concept of justice. Otherwise, just keep on whining, you are getting a good reputation for that.

    Of course if you don’t have the intestinal fortitude or spine to do that, ease your frustration by taking your suspects to a weekend retreat at your world renown resort at Guantanamo on the Bay. I’m sure the vast majority of guests there will be happy to give you their pin numbers, fingerprints and whatever you want after enjoying the water boarding experiences you provide there. There are still places available but make your reservations early.

      1. Brilliant link thank you so much for getting that. It’s from 2014 and I’ve been quoting John Evan’s Article: “Apple has just about killed the iPhone crime wave”

        “Mobile phone theft is a huge problem. It accounts for up to 40 percent of reported crime in major U.S. cities. In 2012, stolen and lost mobile units, primarily smartphones, cost customers more than $30 billion, said the FCC.”

        This is back in 2014 as is the link you posted and they both show the amazing value of encryption.

        Like any technology it can be used both ways, for good or for evil. Sure encryption helps the back guys, so does non-encryption so take your choice.

    1. So let me get this straight — the US leads the world in numbers of people imprisoned, and he says there aren’t enough behind walls. Hmmm, maybe I’d grant him more credibility if he was also talking about WHO gets imprisoned and for what.

  4. Back in the day – 4 or 5 years ago, it must have seemed to law enforcement and the NSA that the smart phone was a gift from the gods. What the hell did they do before the days of unhampered illegal wiretapping? They never solved crimes?

    1. Law enforcement shot themselves in the foot for making Apple do all the work for them instead of hiring a few smart CSI computer people to get the info for them. So Apple had to make the security even harder.
      Now they are doing it all over again.

      1. Law enforcement should also be thanking Apple for collecting all that data for them. Now, in the majority of cases, all they have to do is put a finger behind bars, get a warrant, and poof! They have all the data they want.

        But the FBI had to go and spoil everything by shining a spotlight on Apple security and educating the criminals on how to avoid handing over their data.

        Again, they are shooting themselves in the foot.

        1. “Get a warrant”?

          True, but by the logic that is being claimed by this DA, having to stop to get a warrant is also something which “… frustrates the ability of law enforcement to prevent, investigate, and prosecute criminals”.

          So if we do away with encryption, then by logical extension, we should do away with Warrants … as well as the rest of Due Process, it appears.

          But no, there’s no slippery slope here… /S

  5. I think an “innocent person” would be more than happy to provide information from their phone to “exonerate” themselves if accused of a crime. But that is for the individual to provide that info, not for the FBI to take it without their permission.

  6. There is absolutely NO WAY I’d trust ANY DA Office with this kind of Tech! Especially the Manhattan DA Office, that tech would be in terrorist or racial hate groups in less than one day!
    Besides the FBI said ONE CASE, ONE PHONE. Not multiple cases or cases country wide. Let them plead their case one at a time, to see if it’s warranted. Work for it, just like your supposed too!

    1. How did traffic cops operate before there were cars? Prosecutors didn’t have to worry about encryption until it became common. Before that, a warrant could be used to obtain admissible evidence. Now it often yields data that can’t be read. Why is that difficult to understand? Old fashioned police work often leads to a dead end now, as it would now have a few years ago.

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