‘Dormant cyber pathogen’ San Bernardino DA Michael Ramos demands judge command Apple to help FBI decrypt iPhone

“One day after the San Bernardino County district attorney said that an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters might contain a ‘lying-dormant cyber pathogen,’ the county’s top prosecutor went on the offense again,” David Kravets reports for Ars Technica. “DA Michael Ramos said Apple must assist the FBI in unlocking the phone because an alleged security threat might have been ‘introduced by its product and concealed by its operating system.'”

“Ramos’ office said “‘Companies that introduce dangerous products, and it can be argued that the iPhone with its current encryption is dangerous to victims, are required to fix them. Companies that create environmental damage are required to clean it up,’ the prosecutor said in a filing Friday afternoon,” Kravets reports. “The fact no one has heard of a pathogen that might carry devastating qualities has us and others wanting to know exactly what is a ‘lying-dormant cyber pathogen?’ We asked Ramos’ office to elaborate. Ars‘ e-mail and phone messages, however, were not returned.”

“But late Friday, Ramos told The Associated Press that his cyber doom suggestion was out of thin air,” Kravets reports. “On Friday, the district attorney again demanded that a federal magistrate presiding over the dispute command Apple to help decrypt the phone.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We have a “command” for DA Michael Ramos: GFY.

San Bernardino DA: Terrorist’s county-owned iPhone could contain ‘dormant cyber pathogen’ or something – March 4, 2016


    1. Not at all. If accusing Irak of having weapons of mass destruction worked for Bush, then why not for him? Just throw in “terrorism”, “mass destruction”, and maybe a child or two and you are good to go.

      The “brave, new world” looks very different from the one I once imagined …

      1. You really need to pick a better example for your argument.

        1. Every significant national intelligence agency at the time thought Iraq had WMD (after all, they’d been using chemical weapons agains the Kurds for years), including the UK, France, Russia, etc.

        2. After invading Iraq, there were a large number of chemical weapons found on the ground, iirc something over 500 in several areas. Probably most of them dating back to the Iraq-Iran war; the which Iraq was supposed to have destroyed as per UN directives.

        That Iraq didn’t have more, and didn’t use the ones they had is another issue. It appears clear that most, if not all, of Saddam’s upper level generals thought they were available for use, they just weren’t sure which units controlled the weapons, since they didn’t have any in theirs.

    2. Apple is doing their best to make the iPhone secure and security doesn’t distinguish between “good guys” and “bad guys.” Either something is secure or it is not.

    3. This bumbling fool, along with his Keystone Cops (the FBI), is a total laughingstock. These guys couldn’t solve and prosecute a 7-11 holdup. What a joke.

    1. Wait,,,, Apple should agree that there might be a dangerous ‘lying-dormant cyber pathogen, inside the phone and agree to get rid of any chance of a cyber pathogen at once.

      then burn the phone to a cinder. No chance of anything getting out now. Court order complied with.

      Nuff said. 🙂

  1. Since when did it become acceptable to lie? Ramos just disqualified himself from his position and should be fired immediately. Same for Comey.

    The country deserves honesty, integrity, and respect for the law in our public servants and elected officials. Violators should be fired and prosecuted for violating their oaths of office and undermining democracy.

    1. You apply for a warrant “based upon probable cause” and you swear in front of a judge the information in the warrant application is true. What other cases has this guy lied about! Defense attorneys better start reviewing cases.

    2. We have the “vote of no confidence”, but it’s just symbolic. We need a real “vote of no confidence”. In Britain, a bad elected official can be removed through a “vote of no confidence”. It’s just a coincidence that Queen Amadala used the “vote of no confidence” to replace her greatest supporter with a Sith.

  2. Wow, this guy’s working hard on his 15 minutes of fame, might be twenty if this guy keeps up the jokes.

    Yeah the dormant cyber pathogen, that’s about as good as the green men from Mars? If you are that paranoid about the phone, destroy it, obliterate it, then look for the data. Hey you never know who might be reading this, could work.

    This statement though, how hilarious:

    ” Ramos’ office said the “Companies that introduce dangerous products, and it can be argued that the iPhone with its current encryption is dangerous to victims, are required to fix them. Companies that create environmental damage are required to clean it up,” the prosecutor said in a filing Friday afternoon.”

    How about those guns. They are dangerous products, kill more people than iphones per year. I’m pretty sure about that? And all the environmental damage, blown out body parts on the lawn, blood on the asphalt. Time to get the gun companies to come out and fix that every time their dangerous product creates an environmental mess.

    Then we’ll get around to your dormant cyber pathogen.

    Oh so funny when people are that clueless.

    1. Green men on Mars!
      Last vacation, I was on a cruise through the inner, small planets. Mars was a real hoot. Never seen so many party freaks in one spot. One thing that I did see, every place I went was, the men were Red, not Green. The women, on the other hand, were Purple.

      1. They were red? Well it is called the red planet for a reason. The martians are only green when the cyber pathogens are not dormant I guess.

        Ah we are making as much sense as Michael Ramos. We should grab his pay cheque.

    2. Yes, totally agree: unlimited product liability. Companies that make products dangerous to victims should assume the risk of unlimited product liability.

      So how about:
      — nailing gun manufacturers for making products that are dangerous to victims?

      — suing car manufacturers for making products dangerous to victims (> 30,000 deaths per year!).

      — and putting the screws to food & beverage food companies for killing so people with their “food-like substances” that cause obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and syndrome X?

      When gun, car, and food & beverage companies are held responsible for the damage their products cause victims, then we can start to think about nailing computer and phone companies.

      Until then, a better legal theory for DAs to pursue terrorists is not unlimited product liability — which is tort law. How about focusing on criminal law? Conspiracy, murder, terrorism, etc.

      Also, if you make Apple devices less secure, you are then opening Apple up to damages caused to victims of fraud, etc. Yours is a crazy legal theory, DA dude !

      1. Bravo, great post. It shows what happens when these talking heads move their lips for knee jerk reactions and make no effort for reflective thought.

        Heck I’m working on moving from the information age to the security age. Bring on the encryption, it’s what the people want, it’s empowering it comes from an insanely great product that gives you the power to be your best, in part because there is not some big ominous viewer looking over your shoulder and breathing down your neck. Sure some people will use it for nefarious purposes, but that’s people’s free will.

      2. Funny, I misread “nailing gun manufacturers” as “nail gun manufacturers,” flashing back to Lethal Weapon 2, where Mel Gibson used one to protect himself from assassins.

        The truth is any item can be turned into a weapon, and that includes the item know as the human mind—the most dangerous weapon of all, as oppressors throughout the saga of human history well knew. If the Bill of Rights crumbles, can the Fifth Amendment stand alone?

        In their zeal to pursue miscreants with all available resources, some law enforcement officials have forgot their civics lessons.

  3. When you keep the general electorate clueless and uneducated by creating an environment where a college degree costs more than one can expect to repay over a lifetime, you can expect, over time, that the electorate will become teachers and elected officials. It looks to me, with the popularity of Donald Drumpf and comments by Comey and others speaking up on the side of the government in this meleé, that we are arrived.

  4. Hasn’t this guy heard that Defense Secretary Ash Carter agrees with Apple, Apple won a House Judiciary Committee vote on further policy action and that another Judge, Judge Orenstein, confirmed that Apple does not need to comply with this order and it needs to go to Congress to address it’s far-reaching implications? End of the story about “demanding” Apple do anything until policy is set.

    Another government doofus clearly not in touch with his superiors or what’s going on but VERY in touch with the Peter Principle.

  5. San Bernadino County: the same county that had paid for available software designed to make county owned phones, WHICH THIS WAS, but did not deploy it. It would have made it easy to to unlock this phone, but Nooooo.

    People wonder why their is such disrespect for government in general. It’s often justified!

    No I am not suggesting their be no government, dont be so foolish as to go there……I am sure some will but who cares,

  6. Apparently, Farook and wife is what Hollywood dreams are made of. Perfect planning, flawless moment, and savy programming skills on iOS that that can take down the governments. Needless to say, all the other computers at work, freinds, family (domestic and abroad) and phones- both iOS/Android. They all now have the ability to lay dorment and leap to destory. Even the FBI own computers that are in proximity will require decryption and examination- even the phone that is connected to that network. All the while both only show low levels of jobs skills and mundane lives. Now i know why the FBI had such a difficult time cathing these masterminds that will lay waste to the government and civilian populations of the United States… They are extraordinary genius come together to create a failed attempt and allow the police and FBI to take the phone to there lair and destory the FBI.

    How ever will the FBI ever defeat this level of genuis against a looming “cyber pathogen” in the heart of the FBI office and computers? It is game over as all the FBI secrets are on thier way to ISIS as we speak. The judge should command the shut down of the FBI before Farook and family destory it. Judge… Shut down the FBI and save it!!! THE SKY IS FALLING!!! 😉

  7. “the district attorney again demanded that a federal magistrate . . . command Apple to help decrypt the phone”

    So, Ramos is now ordering judges around?

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