FBI v Apple

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se99paj
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FBI v Apple

Postby se99paj » 24 Feb 2016, 17:08

Anyone got any opinions/views on the latest news regarding the FBI wanting to unlock the IPhone in the US?

I think the specific case is fairly black and white, if Apple unlock the phone it is only for this specific phone and is only done on Apple premises, making it very difficult for this to be reused by anyone other than Apple. Even if someone managed to get hold of the code it is hardcoded to a specific phone and even if someone got the source it would be useless as it would need to be code signed by Apple.

There are quite a few sceptics that think this case will set legal precedent, that could result in all our data being made available to the authorities but I can't really see that happening. I'm no legal expert but for legal precedence to succeed the case needs to be fairly similar, they won't be able to start unlocking devices because they feel like it. In a similar way the police can't wander into your home when they want, they need a warrant that justifies that search.

Or is Apple just using this case for great marketing, it makes them look like they are protecting their customers which can't be bad for business.
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 25 Feb 2016, 00:03

Ok people, brace yourselves for a shock - I'm about to defend Apple, this doesn't happen often! I don't think this is Apple doing it for publicity for the simple reason I don't actually this is good publicity for them as a lot of people don't understand the technology behind the case and see Apple as being deliberately obstructive. Hotukdeals is an interesting measure of a more general public reaction rather than on the technology orientated forums I normally frequent, there was a long thread on this and many saw the case as Apple being deliberately obstructive when they could just hand over the data and the more extreme ones complaining that Apple were actually supporting terrorism. There were also claims that if Apple hadn't configured default encryption then the Paris attacks would never have happened.

In terms of whether Apple are correct about this just being the start it looks like they're absolutely correct as there's been papers unsealed over the last couple of days that have shown the FBI have a backlog of phones they also want unlocked if they're successful with this one. When the police apply for a warrant there's a legal process specifically for that but there isn't one in this case, they're using a centuries old piece of legislation to enforce this judgement for the phone and the way they're doing it is concerning:

http://www.zdziarski.com/blog/?p=5645

I'm not generally a tinfoil hat system but with the Snowden revelations about illegal mass surveillance and more recently more details are leaking out about the illegal use of Stingrays don't give much faith to the FBI's claims and less so as more information is released.

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Postby Johnmcl7 » 01 Mar 2016, 18:40

In another similar court case the judge ruled for Apple stating that the law being used to force Apple to unlock iPhones was wrong:

http://arstechnica.co.uk/tech-policy/20 ... ork-court/

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Postby Tappy » 02 Mar 2016, 14:15

I've not really considered this much, but I just had a read of the BBC article on it (and comments therein).

People say, if police can access your house, why can't they access your phone?
But the lock manufacturer doesn't show up with a workaround to let the police in. The police break down the door, or use a lock-smith.
And the lock manufacturer may not want to make a workaround because they are worried criminals would use the work-around (akin to those useless TSA locks).

Perhaps the police (or FBI) just need to find a lock-smith who can help them out with this door (or iPhone).
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 02 Mar 2016, 16:33

Don't worry, John McAfee has all the answers:

http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/03 ... ones-work/

Or maybe not...

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Postby scarbunny » 02 Mar 2016, 18:05

turns out to be a super convenient "half hour job." McAfee only said it'd take three weeks because he didn't want to have to eat his shoe if a cold or flu interrupted him.


That's fair enough we all know that debilitating colds and flus come on in a matter of minutes.

I'm really looking forward to him eating a shoe on live TV.
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 03 Mar 2016, 12:36

Tappy wrote:Source of the post I've not really considered this much, but I just had a read of the BBC article on it (and comments therein).

People say, if police can access your house, why can't they access your phone?
But the lock manufacturer doesn't show up with a workaround to let the police in. The police break down the door, or use a lock-smith.
And the lock manufacturer may not want to make a workaround because they are worried criminals would use the work-around (akin to those useless TSA locks).

Perhaps the police (or FBI) just need to find a lock-smith who can help them out with this door (or iPhone).


I can't remember which site it was but I liked the analogy that it was like asking Apple to remove a particularly vicious guard dog from the house so the police could get in to pick the lock.

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Postby Tappy » 03 Mar 2016, 14:02

Let's concentrate on the important matters!

John McAfee wrote:A half an hour.


Why is he using two articles? It should be "A half-hour" or "Half an hour", shouldn't it?!
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Postby Tappy » 03 Mar 2016, 14:04

Johnmcl7 wrote:I can't remember which site it was but I liked the analogy that it was like asking Apple to remove a particularly vicious guard dog from the house so the police could get in to pick the lock.

John


Ah, yes, that's a better analogy. They still want to "pick the lock" themselves.
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FBI v Apple

Postby se99paj » 03 Mar 2016, 14:42

Johnmcl7 wrote:In another similar court case the judge ruled for Apple stating that the law being used to force Apple to unlock iPhones was wrong:

http://arstechnica.co.uk/tech-policy/20 ... ork-court/


I'm in no way a legal expert so I could be completely wrong, but I wouldn't expect the FBI case to provide any benefit for this case, the goal is the same but the justification why they need to unlock the phone is different.

I wouldn't consider drug dealing to be as significant as a terrorist attack, also the suspect is alive and pleaded guilty (So might be interested in sharing info to reduce his sentence) whereas the San Bernardino suspects aren't going to be sharing anything anytime soon.

One interesting point is the San Bernardino suspects don't own the phone, it was a work phone and is therefore owned by San Bernardino county, the suspect worked for the county.

Also, even if this did set a precedent, I've read that the latest IPhone manages the encryption slightly differently, therefore in an identical case if the suspect had the latest IPhone even Apple wouldn't be able to unlock the device.
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 03 Mar 2016, 16:58

Although the circumstances are different to the cases, legally they are both identical (aside from being in different Federal areas) in that they're using this ancient writ 'catch all' writ which is questionable to say the least and this is what the second judge has disagreed with. The second case doesn't set a precedent but could be persuasive although I suspect not.

It's an interesting point that the second case is IOS7 which as you state, Apple can unlock - I though they were both IOS 8+ which Apple cannot unlock. I thought they had been unlocking the lower IOS devices already on a court request.

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Postby scarbunny » 03 Mar 2016, 17:28

se99paj wrote:Also, even if this did set a precedent, I've read that the latest IPhone manages the encryption slightly differently, therefore in an identical case if the suspect had the latest IPhone even Apple wouldn't be able to unlock the device.


But Apple can't unlock this device and they can't decrypt the information contained with in. The FBI want them to build a new version of iOS that removes the 10 try lockout/wipe that may or may not be set and allow it to accept PIN inputs via the lightning port so they can brute force the PIN from a separate machine.

The FBI could possibly[1] have retrieved the information by forcing an iCloud backup but they forced the suspects employer to change the iCloud password meaning this avenue is now locked to them. They also have all of the information they need to convict the suspects from phone, text, and internet records they have no need for the information stored on the phone, the only reason for them being so persistent in this request it to set a legal precedent. Even the San Bernardino Chief of Police has come out saying there is very likely nothing of interest on the phone.

Even if the suspect was still alive they still wouldn't have access to the phone as your phone PIN is protected under the Fifth Amendment.

[1]The device has a spotty history of iCloud backups so this may not have worked, however its less likely that he would occasionally do a manual backup and more likely that the conditions for auto backup weren't meet that often. Either he only charged his phone at work and used wifi at home, or only used wifi at work and only charged at home.

Interestingly no other nation has asked Apple to break its own encryption in such a fundamental and unwarranted way, including China and Russia.

Claiming this will not set a precedent is naive in the extreme, especially when the FBI have already said they have 14 other such devices that they will want unlocking, and Apple have claimed "Law enforcement agents around the country have already said they have hundreds of iPhones" for them to unlock.
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 04 Mar 2016, 01:36

All good points particularly setting the precedent - it's increasingly clear this is not a one off and it was never intended to be despite the claims by the FBI initially.

Today France has announced they want to penalise manufacturers who won't hand over encrypted data:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2 ... encryption

This seems to work on the basis that it's simply a case of Apple having the ability to decrypt and refusing to do it rather than the reality which is Apple cannot decrypt the drive (not known for sure I guess but there's no reason to believe Apple haven't properly implemented encryption). This to me feels like a knee jerk reaction similar to the claim I've seen a few times that if Apple didn't support encryption then the terrorist attack wouldn't have happened. It's not possible to control the devices and the software used on them so say theoretically Apple did have an encryption back door on their devices then people can change to imported phones or custom firmware or software to avoid the government and there would be no chance of any help with those.

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Postby Johnmcl7 » 09 Mar 2016, 20:09

More information to back up Apple:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016 ... -pathogen/

It seems in response to the claims that there's probably nothing on the phone, the claim was made that it may have a dormant cyber pathogen although it seems they release that was a very stupid comment and have now withdrawn it.

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