Apple vs USA: What's the Real Issue?


Hating Apple is popular?
The Constitutional right to privacy, as established by the Fourth Amendment, is not absolute -- "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things"

The government's interest in searching this iPhone is clearly not "unreasonable," given the horrific crimes committed by its possessor. They clearly have "probable cause" to search that phone. Upon presentation of the phone and a valid search warrant, Apple should comply with this request. The government is asking the company to break this one phone, not publish any code or threaten any other phones.

Yep. The government would totally stop at this one phone. Nothing to worry about.

(Also, thank you for researching the Constitution and providing us with the text of the fourth amendment.)
If the FBI had shown any competence at all in this case I'd at least be willing to entertain their plea that they won't abuse this new tool they want Apple to give them, or let it fall into the wrong hands. But these are clowns. They can't be trusted even if their hearts are pure.
@3, the government doesn't need to get the code! The Constitution does not protect the privacy of bad guys. Time to stop hyping this controversy into something it's not.
#2, the possessor of the phone is not the same person as the terrorist who borrowed it.

You also know nothing about the situation. Apple can't break this phone. At all. Apple can't decrypt their iPhones. On purpose. They made no backdoor to the encryption.

The FBI is asking Apple, a private corporation, to make a custom OS just for the FBI that can be installed onto any iPhone to unlock it. That will take dozens of man hours at least, and likely cost Apple over 1 million dollars just to create.

This isn't about privacy and security. That's just a pithy byline a Slog staffer decided to toss out there. This is about the government demanding individuals/groups spend their own time and money to invent products and to give those products out for free against their will. This is a government vs. big business fight, a relative rarity in our modern corporatist state.
What a time to be alive.
I hate all these pundits, politicians, journalists and commoners offering an opinion on this as if it were valid. All of these people are at best under-informed, if not outright ignorant. This is the same as all the non-climate scientists evaluating the science of global warming. GO THE FUCK AWAY. PISS OFF. If you're not a programmer with a strong background in cryptography, you're not informed enough to offer an opinion on a solution. Holy shit. It can't be broken into an easily understandable solution. You're going to be equally ignorant after an hour or a day.
@2 The 4th reads clearly as conditional--and seems a cogent support for the government demand. (Of course, the 2nd is every bit as conditional, and look what corporations allowed that to become!) So @3 [snarky or sincere?] shares a valid concern. I appreciate the observation of @6 "This is a government vs. big business fight, a relative rarity in our modern corporatist state."
(Sunday Night). Oh good you're back! Mind fixing that autoplay down there?
Open bold (b) tag
Oh man, and the security expert's name is "Rich Mogull." But actually that article makes a lot of sense.
OK, how's this for an open tag TURN OFF THE AUTOPLAY DOWN YONDER
The autoplay just ruined ten seconds of "Achilles Last Stand" for me. TURN IT OFF, YA DINGUS
The privacy issue is important, but I'm more concerned with the idea that a court can force a person to do work that they do not wish to do, in a case they are not a party to.

This is a key area of totalitarianism and labor, and totalitarianism and intellect.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote a whole book about scientists imprisoned under Stalin and forced to work on a specific technology. The scientist version of the gulag.

This is court dictating to private business and private individuals how they should use their time and creativity.

Hey, if law enforcement wants back doors built in to everything, then they need to ask legislators to pass laws requiring it. I'm not sure that would be legal under the Constitution, but that is the proper way to go about it. Or law makers (not law enforcers) could outlaw all communication devices without a backdoor, and we could see how that plays out under the Constitution and the process of democratic vetting.

The security state has been wanting these backdoors built-in, but legislators haven't been willing to try to give it to them, so they are trying to end-run around democracy by getting courts to force manufacturers to modify their still perfectly legal product after the fact.
O, yeah, also. Screw that AUTOPLAY!
I only have one question. Exactly what the fuck are we paying for the Department of Homeland Security and the NSA to do? Because it sure as shit doesn't seem like they're capable of doing it.

Here I thought they had engineers and technicians capable of taking things apart and seeing what's inside. They're supposed to be able to read erased hard drives, etc. Is this all bullshit? Software isn't the only way to read flash ram. Cut the fucking chip out and sequence it bit by bit. And if they can't crack a crypto key with that fucking huge computing center they built, I want my money back.
Pardon me if I am missing something, but does all this hinge on the fact that our national security agencies can't figure out how to get into an encrypted iPhone? I thought these guys were supposed to be the best of the best at their craft, with insane amounts of computing power.

Or are they just looking for a backdoor into every phone, and using this as an excuse?
Seems to me that this is the same as the government obtaining a cyphered paper diary with a warrant and then demanded the bookstore that sold it decode it for them.
@8, uh, no. Even if they're just like assholes, we're all entitled to them (except for that poor kid who had his ripped out while jerking off and sitting on a pool drain. Definitely lost his right to an asshole). My lack of coding skills doesn't negate that right.

Anyway, I was flopping between the two sides in this debate...but I'm leaning towards Apple now (my initial opinion was that Apple saw a very juicy pr opportunity to repair some of its privacy failings, and I may still feel that way).

That said, I've since learned that the Feds simply fucked up and accidentally changed the password on the phone and/or cloud account. Now they want Apple to pick up the ball and mend their fuck up. To that I say fuck no. If you can't manage a competent investigation, deal with it; and don't go fucking with my security to cover up your faults.
@12, Sorry, but there is no way to avoid Sean Nelson talking at you about Kesha.
@17: There's no "back door" at all. It's simply encrypted. Only the password can unlock it. The government want Apple to create inferior products.
@21 - They're not asking Apple to break the encryption, they're asking them to create a new OS that bypasses the "erase after 10 failed password attempts" setting. Without that setting, the gov't would hook the phone up to a machine that can try every passcode very quickly. Apple's position is, correctly, that if they were to create such a modified (and signed) OS, it will get out. You can't put the genie back in the bottle.

@everyone else - Sorry about the autoplay. I didn't notice it because I have long since banished Flash (you should too). Moved it after the jump.
@23- No one is objecting to the government searching the property they've got a warrant for. That's not the issue here. They have the phone, they can do whatever they want with it.

Why should Apple be forced to help them, and help them in a manner that compromises the privacy of all of Apple's other customers?
However, I heard it explained that Apple prevents brute force attacks on guessing the password with time delays. If you forget the password, you have x chances to try again. Then you must wait an hour, every hour, to try a set number of chances (y). But then if you have tried a (z) number chances in total - the device will self destruct by freezing itself. I could have this wrong a bit - but you get the idea.

The government may be asking Apple to remove this layer so it can just brute force till the cows come home. But even then, it may not succeed, given the exponentially large numbers involved. Use GUIDs for passwords!
@23: Thanks for clarifying that.
Where are all the strict constructionists? Who seriously thinks that the founders had any inkling that in the future it would be feasible to conscript a locksmith to open millions of doors simultaneously?
Some of the commenters here clearly comprehend what is going on, others clearly are accepting of FBI director, James [Bush-Walker family --- Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher --- Lockheed Martin --- HSBC Holdings --- National Chamber Litigation Center] Comey is spewing on about --- pure bullcrap to use OPM to aid the financial-intelligence complex.

End of story.

Two major points on the Wall Street-owned Amerikan government: reflect on how many times private American citizens' records and files have been hacked into since Micro$oft gave their Windows source code to China --- also, observe what occurred after the DHS offshored the coding of the cyber security program for the OPM to China (rather the private contractor offshored it, but essentially the same anti-national security op) --- the OPM was hacked into and gave up the files for over 25 million people (original number of 21.5 was modified upwards).

@27: Scalia, from the afterlife, just chuckled over that.
@23, I can't banish Flash. The site doesn't work on FF (freezes/hangs the whole browser due to e10s incompatibility), and Chrome's flashblocking suite is subpar. IE/Edge are the browsers your website is most stable in, and they come with Flash preinstalled.

You guys are also using a horrible server farm, often causing time/date mismatches and the lovely "post #0". Your less than helpful tech support people don't care about any problem that doesn't touch Stranger computers, so they won't even bother to put pressure on your server host to fix the issues.
@31 - Any time/date or comment numbering issues are from our software, not our free-range organic server farm. Our tech support people are me and the people in the room with me here, and we sure try to be helpful when we can. They're all our computers.
@32, some of these issues have been around for months now. Any attempt to report them is dismissed with an unhelpful and dismissive "We don't see it on our end.", even after linking evidence to the issue.
If your tech support department is trying to be helpful, they either need to try a lot harder or you need better people.
Way late to this, but just gotta leave this here. It is not a privacy issue as it was not his phone. It was his employers.
@34 Yeah, I'm pretty sure this thread is dead now, but...

If the FBI had handed the phone over to Apple, with an order to recover whatever they could from the phone, destructively if necessary, that would be one thing, and I'm sure Apple wouldn't have a problem with that, especially if the FBI was willing to pay the bill for doing it, along with a release from the phone's owner (the county). But, that's not the thing, is it?

Instead, the FBI is demanding Apple remove features in a product they sold to millions of people, ex post facto, and to create and hand them the tool to do that in their own facilities and on their own volition without any way to guarantee that they'll use it only as and for what they said or that it won't leak or be lent to other agencies, or modified for other purposes. That's a little different, isn't it?