FBI vs. Apple: ‘Unduly burdensome’

“You might well be asking yourself, if the FBI withdrew its challenge against Apple, then why are we still talking about FBI v. Apple? Well, the San Bernadino case is over, but there are many, many more cases still pending,” John Kirk writes for Tech.pinions. “So yeah, this matter is far from over.”

“As I’ve written before, there are two big issues that the FBI must overcome before it can get a court to order Apple to undo its own encryption. The first issue is CALEA — a statute that appears, on its face, to prohibit the FBI from asking for the very thing [for which] they’re currently asking,” Kirk writes. “Today I focus on the second big stumbling block facing the FBI. If the FBI is going to use the All Writs Act to order Apple to assist them in breaking their own encryption, the FBI must first demonstrate that the requested assistance is not ‘unduly burdensome.”‘

Kirk writes, “Someone was desperate, all right, but it wasn’t Apple. The FBI knows that if they are forced to acknowledge that Apple is going to have to comply with similar requests over and over again, then they will also be forced to acknowledge that the burdens that Apple could be expected to endure will expand exponentially.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The FBI, in an effort to never let a serious crisis go to waste, despicably used dead terrorism victims to try to force the courts and public opinion to grant them a skeleton key into iOS.

Luckily for liberty, the despicable FBI failed miserably.

Apple’s new challenge: Learning how the U.S. cracked terrorist’s iPhone – March 29, 2016
Did the FBI just unleash a hacker army on Apple? – March 29, 2016
Apple declares victory in battle with FBI, but the war continues – March 29, 2016
Apple vows to increase security as FBI claims to break into terrorist’s iPhone – March 29, 2016
U.S. government drops Apple case after claiming hack of terrorist’s iPhone – March 29, 2016
Meet Cellebrite, the Israeli company reportedly cracking iPhones for the FBI – March 24, 2016


  1. FBI successfully gained access to iPhone using a method unknown to Apple. Apple, on the other hand, is clueless how to protect its customers data from prying eyes. To me Apple is the big loser. Now, get to work, Apple.

    1. That statement is actually quite false, on many counts.

      The most significant of them is the claim itself that FBI gained access to the phone. Other than FBI saying this, we have no confirmation that this took place. Most observers of this case agree that FBI said this so that they can back out of the request without looking like losers.

      Second, the statement that Apple is somehow clueless how to protect privacy of data” makes no sense, considering that the consensus among the security experts is that Apple’s iOS is the most secure mobile platform out there. Let us not forget, the iOS on the phone in question is several years old, and whatever method FBI used (even if they did manage to get access) would no longer work on newer versions of iOS.

      1. Drag Queen, FBI has no legal, ethical, or moral obligation to reveal how it hacked iPhone to you or to Apple. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, Drag Queen.

        1. My name is Predrag and you are obnoxious.

          FBI certainly has no obligation to anyone to prove that the phone is hacked, and obviously, we don’t have any solid evidence either way. The point is, the sequence of events stinks to high heaven and is is much more than just likely that FBI is actually not telling the truth. The most plausible scenario is that they chose this particular phone and this particular case thinking that it will be easy to get the popular opinion on their side, in order to set a precedent. The device itself most likely contains zero valuable data; it is a work-issued iPhone, the only piece of hardware that contains any digital trail left behind the terrorists, with all other evidence, including private phones, laptops, external drives, USB sticks wiped out or destroyed. Is it really possible that the terrorists meticulously deleted everything behind them before committing the act, and simply forgot about this one iPhone? The occam’s razor theory tells that the simplest answer is the most likely one — they didn’t forget, they just left it behind because it contained nothing of value. FBI used this device precisely for that reason — it will make no difference if unlocked, or not, and the case will elevate the discourse to the national level. Even if they fail this time, they have set up a bar, which will only be higher for Apple to jump over.

        2. There IS actually “rule” in place. You can decide whether it falls under legal, ethical or moral. I think not legal, but the other two are possibilities:

          ‘The Obama administration adopted a little-known cybersecurity rule in 2010 called the “vulnerabilities equities process.”

          The rule kicks in when the government discovers a powerful, never-before-seen hack. Some of the government’s top technical minds at the NSA, Secret Service and other agencies must meet with the president’s National Security Council to discuss whether or not to share flaws so they can be fixed.’

  2. The simple truth is that anything is breakable when one has physical access. Having managed and developed high level security systems, physical security if the first requirement…something totally unachievable with Moble consumer products. The best one can hope for without that is some time delay and high cost needed to access content.

    1. So, if someone steals your iPhone the only help you can expect from Apple is….nothing. Well, isn’t that wonderful. Apple’s vaunted iOS and iPhone are merely disasters waiting to happen. Better keep a tight grip.

      1. Go away Joe.

        If you lose your phone, WTF do you expect Apple to “help” with? Send an Apple SWAT team to go recover it for you? It is unlikely that a typical phone thief (or even a sophisticated one) has the resources to do whatever Cellebrite did to crack the phone for the FBI. In addition, there is no proof that they actually DID crack it to begin with. They said they did, but they have a lot riding on saying so. Even if they did, without knowing the method, it is possible that they cannot do the same thing to a newer iPhone or one running iOS 9, which handles security differently. THAT is what Apple is helping with, by constantly improving device and OS security as they become aware of vulnerabilities, and they are better than most of the rest of the tech industry in this regard.

      2. If someone steals anything from you, your recourse ought to be local law enforcement, not whoever made the thing stolen, assuming you can’t just go to the thief and successfully demand the return of the goods.

        This isn’t rocket science, except perhaps for Joe.

      3. So, if someone steals your iPhone the only help you can expect from Apple is….nothing.
        So, if someone steals your car the only help you can expect from Hot Wheels is…nothing.
        So, if someone steals your watch the only help you can expect from Fisher Price is…nothing.
        So if someone steals your meal, the only help you can expect from Chipolte is…nothing.
        So if someone steals your balls, the only help you can expect from Titleist is…nothing.

        Get the picture? Not quite?

        So if someone steals your mind, the only help you can expect from your drug dealer is…more drugs.

  3. The implications of this are whether we truly live in a democracy or not, technology will force the issue. Technology will soon find a way to completely encrypt and lock down a phone for its owner, and it will force the issue in Congress: will this be allowed, or will Congress legislate a force back door for the FBI, allowing the authorities a way to pry into a phone? If yes, then we can kiss our democratic freedom goodbye, we have officially entered Orwell’s technocratic fascist state, not any different than China or Russia.

      1. Are you really this stupid, or are you pretending to be, perhaps for sympathy. Or tips.

        Nothing is completely unbreakable if you have it in your physical possession. The amount of information you might usefully be able to glean from the device in your physical possession might vary from all of it (totally unencrypted) to nothing for all practical purposes (strongly encrypted).

        Last time I checked, Apple has never claimed to have “achieved total, unbreakable encryption”. Nor has anyone else who isn’t trying to sell you a bridge. Not honestly, anyway.

        What they do offer is tools that can let you lock up your data strongly enough to make it not worth the effort to try to break it.

        The FBI may well have finally been able to get into the iPhone 5c; whether any information useful to them is on the device and unencrypted is another thing altogether.

  4. The FBI previously claimed that only Apple could devise the means to unlock Farook’s iPhone, but the reality was that at least one other company was able to do so and others claim that they could too.

    If the FBI try taking Apple to court again, Apple would be able to point out that their previous assertions rapidly proved to be untrue and would require proof that all other potential means of doing this task have been tried and proven to fail.

    By taking Apple to court too early, too aggressively and without having already exhausted the other options, the FBI have effectively killed off the easy way of addressing this problem via the courts in the future.

  5. Great article.
    Best quote regarding the FBI saying …Apple’s refusal to dilute their encryption is a “marketing decision”…
    …in roughly the same sense that not serving burgers garnished with sewage is a “marketing decision”. ~ Julian Sanchez on Twitter

  6. Wow, what a great peace of work. I though at first no way could this be a jouranalist and I was right, he’s a recovering attorney. This is one worth bookmarking and keeping in the archives.

    I really like this contextual paragraph: “It was the FBI who desperately wanted — desperately needed — this case to be about one isolated iPhone. That is why they continue to defend their position even when the facts, logic, common sense and the testimony of their own director make their position indefensible. Zealous advocacy is to be commended. Purposefully misstating a material fact is to be condemned.” because it so reflects the current outlook of that morally bereft nation’s government, it’s as patriotic as their Guantanamo on the Bay resort, and becoming part of their DNA (Destructive Nuclear Arsenal).

    This nation’s self centered arrogant deity like view of itself is apparent with their distorted propaganda such as this comment, one that I’ve heard here a lot:

    “This burden, which is not unreasonable, is the direct result of Apple’s deliberate marketing decision to engineer its products so that the government cannot search them, even with a warrant. ~ FBI Pleadings”

    Newsflash FIB, it’s Apple’s deliberate decision to engineer its products so that NO ONE but the user can search them. Talk about suffering from a severe case of solipsism.

    That’s why those from the free and civilized world must be vigilant, less such a nation become a great threat to global security.

    Great article.

  7. FBI director James Comey’s attack against Apple accomplished nothing constructive, ultimately hurt the FBI’s reputation, embarrassed our gov’t, did nothing to increase the security of anyone, and was a big waste of time and money. Comey is not part of the solution, he is part of the problem. He should resign for the sake of the FBI and the security of the country.

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