Why a future Apple-FBI case may go very differently

“Although it fiercely opposes the FBI’s demand for help unlocking a San Bernardino shooter’s encrypted iPhone, Apple has never argued that it simply can’t do what the government wants,” Brandon Bailey reports for The Associated Press. “That might not be true for long.”

“Experts say it’s almost certain that Apple and other tech companies will keep increasing the security of their products, making it harder or perhaps even impossible for them to answer government demands for customer data,” Bailey reports. “‘If I were them, I would use any means possible to avoid having to answer these information requests,’ said Anna Lysyanskaya, a computer scientist and cryptography expert at Brown University. ‘It’s bad for their business, and not just in the United States, but in other countries where law enforcement cannot be trusted to follow the law.'”

Apple “could design future iPhone hardware and software security that would be much more difficult to circumvent. It could also lock up its iCloud backup service so that only its users would hold the keys necessary to unscramble data they store online,” Bailey reports. “Apple currently retains iCloud keys so it can provide access for customers who lose their passwords. That means Apple can — as it did in the San Bernardino case — provide unscrambled iCloud files to authorities with a valid search warrant.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back on March 14th:

[This case] also compels Apple to make iOS even more secure. How about encrypted iCloud backups next, Apple?


      1. “waco” = “whacko” = government (whether county or federal is unimportant at this point) employee changed the AppleID password for the iCloud account of the iPhone 5c in question.

  1. I’ll preface this post with again my compliments to MDN and the MDN community for the fantastic debate that is going on with this issue. Reminds me of being on the same team again, and again it comes down to the elegant interface, the simple solution.

    The world is talking about a back door key, and simply put if I were on the planet right now I’d be musing what would happen if Apple started to look at the total opposite, doing what they want, but not the way they’d want it. Consider giving everyone a front door skeleton key. Here’s the recipe for the dish I call Code 1111:

    A. Ingredidents: One newly designed iPhone, with:
    – a unique device ID
    – GPS locator
    – Database code
    – Self-destruct mechanism: The sort of Mission Impossible stuff that Steve Jobs would dream up. He’d have a hey day with this but one comment I read somewhere is that Tim Cook is doing an exemplary job at being a leader right now and I think Steve Jobs would have been and/or is proud of what Tim is doing.

    B. Directions: Do a preemptive strike. Take a walk to the UN, downtown New York and give a Code 1111 to every government on the planet that wants it, and a Code 2222 as an additional security layer for the government to use it as they please. In other words if they want to put a code 3333 that’s up to the governments to petition for it. They’ll have the responsibility for every unique device assigned (sold to) their country and will decide themselves who has the code.

    C. Easy Bake: The security features engaged by the device ID, GPS locator, database code (code 1111 for each country) would have to be in sync for it to work. An Iceland iphone could not be accessed outside of Iceland. If the Iceland phone is that important, ship it there.

    D. Lynch Pin: Here’s the catch. You can use the code only once on the unit. It will self-destruct upon shut down, that would be the best scenario, but again how secure would that be? Or maybe you’d be alloted a certain amount of time, I don’t know. That to me is the tricky part, that technological Mission Impossible. I don’t know if this technology exists, or if it could even be invented, but if I were to have someone look into it, it would be Apple.

    E. Leap of Faith: Some countries will probably limit the code to very few people, maybe even one. That’s their business. Some might like the extension of code 2222 to code 3333 and build security codes into their phones that can be accessed on their territory by say members of the fire department, police, and ambulance services. That makes sense and could be applied to this scenario and I have no doubt many many others. In fact, that’s exactly what is required, a very simple and elegant solution. To take it to the extreme some country, say Iceland gives out their Code 1111 not only to their own citizens but to the world. Essentially anyone could access an Icelandic iPhone (unique device ID) in Iceland (GPS locator) using the code for Iceland, Code 1111 (database code).

    F. Would it really work?: I’ve been pondering this, running a lot of potential scenarios in my head under the Iceland situation, looking at the nasties.
    -I don’t really see it good for thieves, though a short fad of “hey Mr. wanna buy an iPhone? I only used it once.” might be fun.

    -Data theft, well that’s always an issue, probably be a big one, so keep your iPhone in a safe, because now it’s searchable. Of course other countries may not be so opened and will limit and determine which citizens get access to the code.

    – Some countries might, have fun confiscating everyone’s iPhone, and building a database for their entire population, who would really be pissed off cause they’d have to buy new iPhones.

    – Folks who suspect their spouses are cheating might be in for trouble when their iPhone no longer works, sure to be some interesting court cases on that if Iceland were to go that way. Not to mention the potential for some drunken party on the island where someone says “Let’s see if this Code 1111 really works, pass me your iPhone and a beer.”

    That’s the question, would it really work? Is it even worth looking at such an idea? I don’t know but I do know that it’s been fun to write about and I trust Apple, that spirit, will be looking at a creative solution to this.

    Evolution is the solution.

  2. “but in other countries where law enforcement cannot be trusted to follow the law.”

    . . . or in other countries that don’t those type of laws to follow.

  3. As long as you have major presidential candidates of one major party, the Republican party, advocating everything from the use of torture, to setting up a police state in Muslim neighborhoods, then you will have type of overreach into privacy. It’s all part of the same continuum, spurred on by the same impulses of fear and anger, stoked by opportunistic politicians.

    If you want this sort of thing to stop, you have to stop it at its root…and that means rejecting the politics of fear, rejecting the use of torture, discrimination against Muslims, etc.

    Because as long as you entertain ideas like torture, carpet bombing Middle Eastern cities, discrimination against Muslims, etc…then a little hacking into an iPhone will seem trivial to most of the public.

    1. Typical Leftist chuck-zhe whining about their favorite sympathy-pets (yes, pets!).

      The white, trust-fund-elitist Left uses violent African Americans and Muslims as their muscle to usher in communist control.

      Leftist cuddle up with the bullies and hope to be the last to get beaten up (after all their enemies are) in the highschool cafeteria of geopolitics.

      It is the Right (and far-Right) that respects men and women of Honor from all races and cultures; but we don’t respect you for your mere existence and specieshood; you need to not be weave-pulling ratchets or beheader Jihadists.

      It is the Right that can look at a person for their Actions and Potential and not by their mere group identification or physical attributes.

      The Left only cares What you are, so they can see if you can play a useful victim in their reality-distorting, drive-humanity-over-the-cliff narrative. If you are Black or maudlin or Female or Gay, that is all you are to Leftists: useful tools.

      Dissent on even one talking point and they will turn on you like Invasion of the Pod People (see Caitlyn Jenner being a conservative).


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