Opinion: Why the FBI accessing the San Bernardino iPhone doesn’t mean it’s all over

See italicised updates below, with statements from both the Department of Justice and Apple.

The battle between the FBI and Apple over accessing a work phone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists started as headline news and ended in a rather anti-climactic fashion.

The high-profile congressional hearing was due to be followed by a big showdown in court. Instead, the FBI asked that the hearing be vacated, and later quietly announced that it had, with help, managed to gain access to the phone. Nothing to see here, move along.

But while this particular case may be settled, it’s extremely unlikely that this will be the end of the matter – for two reasons …


Filed under: AAPL Company, Opinion Tagged: Apple Inc, Apple iPhone 5C, Encryption, FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, iPhone, privacy, San Bernardino, Secure Enclave, United States Department of Justice
Source: 9to5 Mac

As Apple resists creating a ‘GovtOS’ in the U.S., Microsoft already wrote one for China

While Apple has strongly resisted building a special ‘GovtOS’ to provide the U.S. government with access to iOS devices, it appears that Microsoft has no such qualms. TechInAsia reports that Microsoft has created a special version of Windows 10 for China, called Windows 10 Zhuangongban, which includes “more management and security controls.”


Filed under: Tech Industry Tagged: Apple Inc, FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, GovtOS, Microsoft, Windows, Windows 10, Windows 10 Zhuangongban
Source: 9to5 Mac

Protest group seeks “thousands” of pro-encryption comments to display outside Apple/FBI court hearing

Fight for the Future, the protest group that organized demonstrations in support of Apple outside its retail stores, plans to hold a demonstration outside the next Apple/FBI court hearing on March 22nd. Re/code reports that the group has created a website inviting people to voice their support for secure iPhones, comments from which will be displayed outside the U.S. District Courthouse in Riverside, California.

The FBI wants to force Apple to weaken the security measures that keep all of us safe. This is misguided, and dangerous. On March 22, when Apple goes to court, we’ll display thousands of statements from Internet users outside the courthouse.

Fight for the Future has so far had mixed success with its protests …


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices Tagged: Apple Inc, California, Encryption, FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fight for the Future, iPhone, privacy, San Bernardino, Save Security
Source: 9to5 Mac

U.S. Attorney General argues San Bernardino County is the owner of the iPhone, Apple should help ‘the customer’ [Video]

In an interview on The Late Show, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told Stephen Colbert that the government in the San Bernardino case simply wants Apple to help a customer.

What we’re asking [Apple] to do is to do what the customer wants. The real owner of the phone is the County, the employer of one of the terrorists who is now dead.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices Tagged: California, FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, iPhone, Loretta Lynch, San Bernardino, stephen colbert, The Late Show
Source: 9to5 Mac

DOJ filing threatens to compel Apple to hand over iOS source code and signature if it fails to cooperate

ACLU principal technologist and Yale Law School visiting fellow Christopher Soghoian drew attention to a rather dramatic raising of the stakes in the DOJ’s latest filing in the San Bernardino iPhone case. It contains an implicit threat that if Apple isn’t willing to create the special version of iOS needed to break the passcode protection, the government could force the company to hand over both the source code and signature so that its own coders could do it instead.

For the reasons discussed above, the FBI cannot itself modify the software on Farook’s iPhone without access to the source code and Apple’s private electronic signature. The government did not seek to compel Apple to turn those over because it believed such a request would be less palatable to Apple. If Apple would prefer that
course, however, that may provide an alternative that requires less labor by Apple programmers.

It then goes on to cite a case it believes provides a precedent for this …


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices Tagged: Apple Inc, FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, iOS, iOS source code, iPhone, San Bernardino
Source: 9to5 Mac

Edward Snowden says FBI’s claims are “BS,” explains how they can bypass auto-erase [Video]

We said yesterday that the war of words on the Apple/FBI dispute were hotting up, and Edward Snowden has now taken things a step further, suggesting that the FBI’s claims that they need Apple to access the iPhone are … not true. His comments were reported by The Intercept, which posted video of the discussion at a civil liberties conference.

“The FBI says Apple has the ‘exclusive technical means’” to unlock the phone, Snowden said during a discussion at Common Cause’s Blueprint for Democracy conference.

“Respectfully, that’s bullsh*t,” he said, over a video link from Moscow.

Snowden had earlier described how the FBI could physically extract the passcode from the iPhone chip, and has now linked to an explanation of how the agency could bypass the auto-erase feature …


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices Tagged: American Civil Liberties Union, Apple Inc, edward snowden, Encryption, FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, iPhone, privacy, San Bernardino
Source: 9to5 Mac

WSJ/NBC poll shows public support for Apple’s side of FBI battle growing, now close to even split

While an earlier public poll showed the majority of the public siding with the FBI in the dispute over whether Apple should be forced to help the government break into an iPhone, the public mood appears to be shifting. A WSJ/NBC poll shows that, overall, American voters are now almost evenly split on the issue.

Neither the WSJ nor NBC has yet released the full poll – only the results relating to the Republican primary race – but CNET has reported the numbers.

Overall, American voters are evenly divided over whether Apple should cooperate with FBI efforts to crack open a terrorist’s iPhone.

47 percent said they feared the government wouldn’t go far enough in protecting national security, while 44 percent feared it would intrude too far into citizens’ privacy.

As you’d expect, there was a significant difference in views among registered Republicans and Democrats …


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple Inc, California, Encryption, FBI, FBI poll, Federal Bureau of Investigation, iPhone, poll, privacy, San Bernardino
Source: 9to5 Mac

Steve Wozniak says the FBI “picked the lamest case you ever could” [Video]

Appearing on Conan last night, Woz said that he sided with Apple in the FBI fight, first because he’s always been strong on human rights, as one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but because governments shouldn’t be able to tell manufacturers to make their products insecure at a time when security is so important.

He argued that there is absolutely no reason to think the FBI would learn anything from the iPhone in question.

They picked a lame case. They picked the lamest case you ever could […]

[For the shooters’ own phones] Verizon turned over all the phone records, all the SMS messages. So they want to take this other phone, that the two didn’t destroy, which was a work phone, and it’s so lame and worthless to expect something’s on it and get Apple to expose it.

Revealing that he had once written something that could have acted as a Macintosh virus, he said he’d thrown away every line of code because he was so scared of what might happen if the code got out …


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices Tagged: all writs act, Apple Inc, California, Conan, Electronic Frontier Foundation, FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, iPhone, San Bernardino, Steve Wozniak, Woz
Source: 9to5 Mac

Hillary Clinton says Apple/FBI dispute is “the worst dilemma ever”

While most politicians have come down on the side of the FBIBloomberg reports Hillary Clinton is an exception. Not that she’s on Apple’s side: from her remarks, she doesn’t know whose side she’s on, she just wants there to be a solution but has no idea what it should be.


Filed under: iOS Devices Tagged: all writs act, Apple Inc, California, Encryption, FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Hillary Clinton, iOS, iPhone, privacy, San Bernardino
Source: 9to5 Mac

An FBI win could lead iOS users to reject updates and tech companies to leave the USA, says Lavabit

The implications of the FBI forcing Apple to create a compromised version of iOS to break into an iPhone could be profound, argues Lavabit – an encrypted email company that closed its service rather than comply with an FBI demand to hand over its encryption key. Company founder Ladar Levison (above) was found to be in contempt of court when he refused to hand over the key in 2013.

Lavabit is the latest of more than 40 companies and organizations to file an amicus brief in support of Apple, reports TechCrunch.

It warns that iPhone and iPad users may reject future iOS updates, which would leave security holes unplugged.

If the government is successful, however, many consumers may not be as trustful of these updates because of a fear (actual or imagined) that the updates will contain malware to provide a backdoor into the data on their iPhones. The result is that fewer people will automatically accept the automatic updates and the overall security of iPhones across the country will suffer.

But the effects of a ruling against Apple could go even further, the company suggests …


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices Tagged: Apple Inc, California, Encryption, FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal government of the United States, iOS, Lavabit, privacy, San Bernardino
Source: 9to5 Mac