Apple Refuses FBI Demand to Build a "Backdoor" For iPhones

Steven Bogos

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Jan 17, 2013
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Apple Refuses FBI Demand to Build a "Backdoor" For iPhones

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Apple CEO Tim Cook has exposed an FBI request to build a government backdoor for Apple products.

"The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers," wrote Apple CEO Tim Cook on the company's official website [http://www.apple.com/customer-letter/]. "We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand." He continued to explain that the FBI, in relation to the San Bernardino terrorist attack investigations, had effectively asked Apple to give the spy agency a global backdoor to all of its products.

"Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software - which does not exist today - would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone's physical possession."

"While the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control."

Cook argues that customers privacy is more important than government backdoors, and calls the FBI out on its bullying tactics by making the demand public. He specifically describes the implications of the agency's demand as "chilling."

"Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government."

Source: Apple [http://www.apple.com/customer-letter/]

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rcs619

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I really don't get why the FBI is trying to pull this in this particular case. It should be effortlessly easy to just get a warrant and subpoena the contents of the phone through purely legal means. There are all kinds of forensic programs law enforcement can use, and with a proper warrant even Apple itself could help crack that particular phone if needed.

Pushing for some kind of broad backdoor built into the OS itself though? That is so dumb. Props to Apple for publicly outing their request and refusing to comply with it. Hopefully the government doesn't just ram this through anyway like they did with a lot of the CIA's surveillance stuff.
 

Bob_McMillan

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Kudos to Apple.

I always thought that things like this were myths, like Area 51.

How stupid and outdated could the FBI possibly be?
 

The Enquirer

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On one hand yay for privacy but on the other hand this is a criminal investigation, which leads me to agree with this statement:
rcs619 said:
It should be effortlessly easy to just get a warrant and subpoena the contents of the phone through purely legal means.
When I first heard about this I was quite pissed at Apple until I thought it through. There's already readily available applications out there that give the ability to send encrypted messages across multiple platforms so this isn't exactly a first. While I still dislike a great deal of Apple products, I certainly respect them for this.
 

Nimcha

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rcs619 said:
I really don't get why the FBI is trying to pull this in this particular case. It should be effortlessly easy to just get a warrant and subpoena the contents of the phone through purely legal means. There are all kinds of forensic programs law enforcement can use, and with a proper warrant even Apple itself could help crack that particular phone if needed.
Have you read the article? That's exactly what happened. The FBI can't crack it, asked Apple for help, Apple refused, and now a district judge has ruled that Apple has to comply.
 

drkchmst

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Given that the owners are dead and when alive shot up a place, i think it would be wise to work on a case by case basis. Proven terrorist? Hack the data. Not quite sure what's going on? Make a case against cooperating.
 

fix-the-spade

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rcs619 said:
I really don't get why the FBI is trying to pull this in this particular case. It should be effortlessly easy to just get a warrant and subpoena the contents of the phone through purely legal means.
I would have thought the answer is obvious, it's not this phone they're overly interested in breaking into, it's the next phone.

Once you have that software, you can copy it, you can install it on anything you want. Why wait for legal due process when oh look the phone isn't locked, fancy that. Given the FBI's long and storied history of illegal surveillance this isn't exactly a surprise, the ghost of J.Edgar still stalks the halls it would seem.
 

fix-the-spade

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Nimcha said:
Have you read the article? That's exactly what happened. The FBI can't crack it, asked Apple for help, Apple refused, and now a district judge has ruled that Apple has to comply.
Not quite. The FBI didn't simply ask Apple to unlock the phone, they asked Apple to provide software that would allow the FBI to unlock any Iphone they felt like. That's a bit further reaching, it also doesn't account for the use of third party software that Apple may not be able to easily decrypt themselves.
 

Neurotic Void Melody

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This is all well and good on Apple's behalf, i commend this greatly. What is worrying though, is the silence from Microsoft, which leads me to believe they not only comply with the FBI, they lay down on their backs for tummy rubs and cuddles too. The xbone owners must be prized US free-range citizens.
Although the full story is the FBI want it for one pbone, but Tim Cook mentions once they have that software, there is no longer any garuntee of anybody's phone staying secure or what the Feds will use it for after. He wants it open to public debate apparently.
Got to say though, pretty good marketing for Apple here. I don't mean that in a cynical sense either, as i am now looking upon my android phone with the shameful look of a parent who caught their child stealing money from the safe.
 

Albino Boo

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This article is more than a little disingenuous, to say the least, because it's not the FBI ordering Apple but a court of Law. A Federal Judge has issued a warrant ordering Apple to decrypt a phone of man that killed 14 people in an ISIS inspired attack. I strongly suggest the article be edited with the truth

http://www.cultofmac.com/412738/apple-must-unlock-the-iphone-5cs-encryption-or-else/
http://www.macrumors.com/2016/02/16/apple-ordered-unlock-san-bernardino-iphone/
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/18/technology/apple-timothy-cook-fbi-san-bernardino.html?_r=0
http://www.neowin.net/news/apple-wont-comply-with-federal-court-order-to-unlock-shooters-iphone-modify-ios
 

rcs619

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Nimcha said:
rcs619 said:
I really don't get why the FBI is trying to pull this in this particular case. It should be effortlessly easy to just get a warrant and subpoena the contents of the phone through purely legal means. There are all kinds of forensic programs law enforcement can use, and with a proper warrant even Apple itself could help crack that particular phone if needed.
Have you read the article? That's exactly what happened. The FBI can't crack it, asked Apple for help, Apple refused, and now a district judge has ruled that Apple has to comply.
Yeah, I refuse to believe the FBI can't crack an iPhone. The CIA can hack into peoples' webcams and turn off the indicator light so that no one knows that it's even on. Also, there's a difference between cracking one phone and asking for Apple to design an OS with a backdoor built in. For my concerns with that, I'll quote another guy in the thread.

fix-the-spade said:
Once you have that software, you can copy it, you can install it on anything you want. Why wait for legal due process when oh look the phone isn't locked, fancy that. Given the FBI's long and storied history of illegal surveillance this isn't exactly a surprise, the ghost of J.Edgar still stalks the halls it would seem.
If Apple is given full access during the investigation and we can somehow include safeguards that make sure that the FBI won't just make a copy of the modified OS and ship it around to a dozen different servers they own to tinker with later... the no. They don't get a specially-modified phone just handed to them with 100% access.

It can't be that hard to just disable all the phone's built-in security systems and set everything to read-only for the FBI to sift through. There's got to be a way to do it that will *only* apply to the phone they've got a warrant for.

Maybe have Apple give them their backdoor-OS, but then immediately put out a patch to all other iPhones to immunize them against it? Not sure if the FBI still couldn't modify that backdoor OS later to circumvent the patch eventually though. I'm no programmer.
 

Abomination

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You know your country is rotten to the core when you can't trust the people who are sworn to keep you safe to keep you safe.

Having a back door to a electronic data storage device is a good thing. We aren't talking about an open source situation but a criminal investigation tool.

Like it or not but Smartphones are the new journal, tablet, scheduler, data storage and networking devices. To have so much information locked away from a criminal investigation team is going to hamper their ability to efficiently and economically do their job.

Not granting the justice system the ability to investigate this data storage is foolish.
 

Steven Bogos

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Jan 17, 2013
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Nimcha said:
rcs619 said:
I really don't get why the FBI is trying to pull this in this particular case. It should be effortlessly easy to just get a warrant and subpoena the contents of the phone through purely legal means. There are all kinds of forensic programs law enforcement can use, and with a proper warrant even Apple itself could help crack that particular phone if needed.
Have you read the article? That's exactly what happened. The FBI can't crack it, asked Apple for help, Apple refused, and now a district judge has ruled that Apple has to comply.
Nooo, Apple CAN'T crack it. They're also refusing to purposefully build in backdoors to future iterations. The fact of the matter is the US govt., if they're willing to expend the resources, has the tech to crack the device, but it would probably cost at least 5 million dollars and take 2 years.
 

chocolate pickles

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Nice to see Apple cares more about 'customer privacy' than helping protect against terrorism. But hey, apparently most people can't quite grasp the fact the government doesn't give a shit about your info, provided you are not doing illegal.
 

Albino Boo

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rcs619 said:
If Apple is given full access during the investigation and we can somehow include safeguards that make sure that the FBI won't just make a copy of the modified OS and ship it around to a dozen different servers they own to tinker with later... the no. They don't get a specially-modified phone just handed to them with 100% access.

It can't be that hard to just disable all the phone's built-in security systems and set everything to read-only for the FBI to sift through. There's got to be a way to do it that will *only* apply to the phone they've got a warrant for.

Maybe have Apple give them their backdoor-OS, but then immediately put out a patch to all other iPhones to immunize them against it? Not sure if the FBI still couldn't modify that backdoor OS later to circumvent the patch eventually though. I'm no programmer.

ravenshrike said:
Nooo, Apple CAN'T crack it. They're also refusing to purposefully build in backdoors to future iterations. The fact of the matter is the US govt., if they're willing to expend the resources, has the tech to crack the device, but it would probably cost at least 5 million dollars and take 2 years.
Oh for godsake its not a modified OS or cracking its just Apple changing the password and telling the FBI the new password.
 

Steven Bogos

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albino boo said:
rcs619 said:
If Apple is given full access during the investigation and we can somehow include safeguards that make sure that the FBI won't just make a copy of the modified OS and ship it around to a dozen different servers they own to tinker with later... the no. They don't get a specially-modified phone just handed to them with 100% access.

It can't be that hard to just disable all the phone's built-in security systems and set everything to read-only for the FBI to sift through. There's got to be a way to do it that will *only* apply to the phone they've got a warrant for.

Maybe have Apple give them their backdoor-OS, but then immediately put out a patch to all other iPhones to immunize them against it? Not sure if the FBI still couldn't modify that backdoor OS later to circumvent the patch eventually though. I'm no programmer.

ravenshrike said:
Nooo, Apple CAN'T crack it. They're also refusing to purposefully build in backdoors to future iterations. The fact of the matter is the US govt., if they're willing to expend the resources, has the tech to crack the device, but it would probably cost at least 5 million dollars and take 2 years.
Oh for godsake its not a modified OS or cracking its just Apple changing the password and telling the FBI the new password.
It's not the screen lock. The phone itself is encrypted with a separate password that apple cannot reset without wiping the phone.
 

The Bucket

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chocolate pickles said:
Nice to see Apple cares more about 'customer privacy' than helping protect against terrorism. But hey, apparently most people can't quite grasp the fact the government doesn't give a shit about your info, provided you are not doing illegal.
"If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear"
That's a very old and flawed ideal. Even if in most individual cases, the right to privacy from government is irrelevant, its massively important to have as a society. Your right to privacy is your right to yourself, the right to choose what other people can know about you without cause. You might as well submit all your letters, email and web activity to the government as well, you're probably not doing anything illegal, so whats the problem?
 

chocolate pickles

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The Bucket said:
chocolate pickles said:
Nice to see Apple cares more about 'customer privacy' than helping protect against terrorism. But hey, apparently most people can't quite grasp the fact the government doesn't give a shit about your info, provided you are not doing illegal.
"If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear"
That's a very old and flawed ideal. Even if in most individual cases, the right to privacy from government is irrelevant, its massively important to have as a society. Your right to privacy is your right to yourself, the right to choose what other people can know about you without cause. You might as well submit all your letters, email and web activity to the government as well, you're probably not doing anything illegal, so whats the problem?
There isn't one. I would do that. You, on the other hand, seem quite opposed to it. Do you have something to hide?

It's not a flawed idea. It is complete common sense. Unfortunately, lots of people like to think the government is out to get them.