Patterico's Pontifications

2/19/2016

The Apple iPhone and the San Bernardino Shooters: It’s Not What You’ve Been Told

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:51 am



There is a lot of misinformation flying around about the order issued to Apple with respect to the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. If you’re interested in doing a bit of in depth reading, I recommend reading the motion filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. For a shorter read, check out Orin Kerr.

Let me make some brief points.

First, the government is not asking Apple to break the phone’s encryption. They are seeking to have Apple turn off an auto-erase function, which (when turned on) automatically erases all the data on an iPhone if there are ten consecutive incorrect attempts to enter the four-digit passcode. They are seeking to have Apple allow the passcodes to be entered electronically — so nobody has to manually type in every possible four-digit combination. And they are seeking to have Apple disable a feature that introduces delays of increasing length as incorrect guesses at the passcode are made.

Second, this specific case does not implicate anyone’s right to privacy. The phone in question was a work phone issued to Syed Farook with the explicit understanding that he had no privacy in its contents. Moreover, Farook’s employer, which owns the phone, has consented to the search. Even if it were his private phone, a magistrate has issued a warrant based on probable cause. You can claim that this leads to a slippery slope, but government already has the ability to get warrants to look at phones, phone records, search your house, and so forth. Unless you are so paranoid that you want to disable the ability of law enforcement to do its everyday job — and increasingly many people seemingly are — then this is no big deal.

Third, as described by the government, the software in question would have a unique identifier so that it would only work with this single device.

I see people on Twitter and elsewhere claiming that this is an intrusion on Apple’s rights because it is the government forcing Apple to work for it, and to create a product that does not exist. This seems like a good argument until you think about it for a second. When law enforcement has a phone company set up a pen register or trap and trace, people at the phone company have to expend labor to comply. When law enforcement obtains a search warrant for cell phone records, a custodian of records has to work to comply.

When a Congressional committee, or a party seeking documents through FOIA, seeks Hillary’s emails, people have to work to comply. Are we saying they shouldn’t have to?

But, it is argued, Apple should not have to create a new software program for the government. I await Apple’s argument on this, as does Kerr — but such an argument seems unlikely to succeed. The features the government seeks to disable — such as the auto-erase, and the delays caused when bad passcode guesses are made — are features Apple put into their code. Creating software that turns those features off does not sound particularly hard for a company that created software to enable those features.

If the State Department said it had to write a program to efficiently search for Hillary’s emails, I think we would all say: OK, write the program . . . and hurry up about it!

To make the criminal justice system work, we compel the attendance of jurors, sometimes for weeks, at a pittance. We compel the attendance of witnesses, sometimes in situations where they are putting themselves in danger by testifying. And, as noted, companies complying with subpoenas and search warrants must expend labor as well.

And we all work for the government already, for weeks or months at a time — through the magic of the income tax!

Why, the government even has the power to send you off to war. To take your body and put it to its use, for years at a time, risking your life.

We’re really going to get that upset, then, about a coder being told to turn off features that he enabled in software? When we balance that against the chance to learn information about who else might have been involved in a plot to kill Americans?

This doesn’t seem like that close a call to me — now that I understand it. I encourage you to read the links above and become informed, so you understand it too.

374 Responses to “The Apple iPhone and the San Bernardino Shooters: It’s Not What You’ve Been Told”

  1. Not only that, but according to the court order the phone can remain in Apple’s possession the whole time if they wish and they will never have to turn over the software that they use to bypass the passcode to the government, which would prevent the government from being able to attempt using it on another device in the future.

    Dan G (c72e86)

  2. after lois lerner the sleazy fedpigs don’t deserve a shred of the benefit of even the most miniscule doubt

    fedpigs are reaping what they’ve sown

    happyfeet (831175)

  3. I talked to some tech people, and they think it can’t be limited that way, I would say apple should provide the records, texts and emails, but not give up the code,

    narciso (732bc0)

  4. Slippery slope is still there.

    njrob (575521)

  5. This isn’t about expending labor, it’s about forcing a fundamental redesign of the software. And if anyone thinks for a second that the software will be limited to only this phone, then they’re as naive as those who believe that this redesign is merely altering a few lines of code. If the firmware redesign should leak, which it inevitably will, any phone using the same hardware (hint: any iphone 5c) will be susceptible to it by simply adjusting or eliminating the IMEI (this is likely the ‘unique identifier’ the government refers to) requirement.

    Is there a right to design an electronic storage device in such a way that once a password is lost no one should be able to access the information contained on it? That’s the fundamental question here that no one is asking.

    Ted H. (cc0c78)

  6. Greetings:
    Having worked for so long in the printing industry, I’ve appreciated MACs since the early ’80s but never to the point of standing in line outside an Apple store for anything so, forgive me, but I’m not yet ready to jump on the Tim Cook bandwagon at this point.

    One of my more recently burgeoning phobias is the Natives-Volcano-Virgins scenario. I’m concerned that America and the capital “W” West are slipping backward into those long lost days when the majority becomes inured to the sacrificing of a few while both continue to whistle past the graveyard that is Islam.

    I’m guessing but, just like the anti-gun rights Rosie O’Donnell’s personnel protection team, I’m thinking Tim Cook is in a pretty good situation in that regard so as not to activate Apple’s succession plan any time soon. So, when he stands up and wraps himself in the Constitution and our current President’s version of American values, I get skeptical in that Bronx boy kind of way, because I don’t recall very much of either in Apple’s corporate history especially in regard to, say, manufacturing in America.

    I’ll grant that I don’t understand the technological arguments about the why or wherefore of penetrating the encryption. The depth of my thinking in that regard is “Can’t this be done off line ???”. But Apple is always about Apple and if Tim Cook stood up and said “We developed this product and sold it to our customers because that’s the business we’re in and how we make our livings. Islam is not part of our business plan.” I might have a bit more respect for him.

    As a former altar boy with two subsequent years of high school Latin under my educational belt, it’s “Islam delenda est” for me. I expect no intentional help in that regard from Tim Cook, our current President, or all those “Progressives” so well seeded throughout all those bureaucracies to which we have become both subservient and dependent.

    11B40 (6abb5c)

  7. Creating a new product may not be hard for Apple, but Apple charges for new product. Software development teams don’t work for free. Why should the government get custom software products built for free?

    Frank Skog (e75916)

  8. No matter how narrowly-tailored this remedy appears to be, once the code exists, either removing the unique identifier entirely or altering it for another device (then digitally signing the modified version) becomes a trivial exercise. Because the hard work will have already been done, it’s not difficult to imagine a future court order to do one of these two things precisely because the burden on Apple to comply would be so low. Some of those courts will be in countries lacking our robust civil liberties protections, such as Russia, China, Iran, … It is not difficult to imagine Apple employees in those countries literally being taken hostage by police who would then order Apple to give them the unrestricted version of the software this court is ordering to be created.

    Yes, this is a “slippery slope” argument, but it’s justified because the only logical place to prevent the creation of the unrestricted software is to never write the restricted version. That’s what Tim Cook means when he says he thinks that the mere existence of the software would be bad.

    The Monster (6819a8)

  9. Frank Skog

    A doctor who earns thousands of dollars a day is paid a pittance for jury service. Maybe we can pay Apple, but the precedent is not to pay a market wage.

    Patterico (20cda7)

  10. The Monster,

    What is to prevent those kidnappings from happening now?

    Patterico (20cda7)

  11. The day that Apple agrees to do this thing “just once, for this one phone” under threats from the US government, they will receive another threat from the Chinese government. Then from the Russian government. Then the EU. And so on.

    The whole “one phone, once” is ludicrous.

    Anonymous Coward (4451ce)

  12. So much for Carly’s claim about the patriotism of Silicon Valley. That they would volunteer in a cyber-war. Their loyalty is their market, like any good multinational free-market capitalist’s should be.

    nk (9faaca)

  13. R.I.P. Nelle Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  14. Under almost all circumstances, if the government wants to obtain service, they pay for it. Need a forensic scientist with unique expertise? Hire one. Looking for a ballistics analysis that the authorities lack the personnel to accomplish? Then engage a consulting ballistics firm. Lack state of the art surveillance equipment needed for a particularly important case? Go buy it. These are non-coersive arrangements. Willing buyer; willing seller.

    That the government acts coercively in some situations is not a moral argument for more coercion. Past coercion bestows no entitlement to future coercion. If the government wants access to this iPhone, put the job out for bid and find a willing, qualified expert. There’s not exactly a shortage of hackers in the world, some of whom, undoubtedly, could use the work. So why coerce Apple? It’s faster and cheaper. Now that’s a really good reason for government coercion.

    Now, let’s think about the security device that is protected by the Second Amendment. Imagine a world in which the government can order gun manufacturers to install features in their weapons that allow the government to turn those weapons off if and when they fell into the hands of “bad guys”? Would you be comfortable with that, too?

    ThOR (a52560)

  15. I like ThOR’s position. As a software developer I would argue this is not a simple case of writing code to disable functions. The entire iOS code is designed and developed to NEVER allow this type of access, from the ground up. Apple would have to retool the complete OS, which means updating the device to a new version, which is not possible without logging into the device to begin with. What the government is really asking for is a hacking tool that somehow overrides the complete security of an iPhone, which in no way can be device specific and frankly I don’t think it is possible or some hacker would have done it already.

    Jeremy (91d265)

  16. This is direct result of returning to the Clinton era policy of trying to handle terrorism through law enforcement. The nature of the threat will always compel law enforcement to demand ever-intrusive measures that are never enough to stop the next attack. Apple will eventually find a way to comply. They just want everyone to know they fought hard until they had to comply or go out of business.

    I am sympathetic to LE and the seemingly reasonable explanation our host provides, but perfect and total knowledge doesn’t produce security. The breadcrums they seek are in the cloud where they may or may not have been surveilled or retained by government. This is not the first criminal to take their secrets to the grave and they won’t be the last.

    In this case the county screwed up and gave a user total control over a county phone. That’s their own fault.

    crazy (cde091)

  17. The crucial part is that any such software will be signed by Apple’s digital certificate. That keys the operating system to acknowledge that the software is good.

    Once that software is written and signed, the door is open in the future for everything. And it will get out, anything on a computer can be hacked.

    luagha (d2a1fc)

  18. This article from Ars Technica gives a slightly technical explanation of the situation, but after reading it, I would have to agree that Apple should comply.

    Bruce (baf98b)

  19. Apple doesn’t have a leg to stand on. The court should start jailing people until they comply.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  20. Patterico, because the software does not now exist, those countries can’t demand Apple give it to them. Once it does, the refusal to do so will be “contempt of court”, which entitles the government to take the recalcitrant into custody (kidnap). (But you knew that.)

    The Monster (6819a8)

  21. The more important question is whether phones manufactured by US entities should have unbreakable encryption with no copy of the key available to authorities. This isn’t an easy question, nor is it a two-valued question.

    I kind of favor a “partial-key escrow” system where enough of a key is escrowed so that the normal life-of-the-universe brute-force break time is cut down to a day or two. Long enough so that it isn’t trivially done and doesn’t allow for mass surveillance, but short enough so that a legitimate law enforcement need, backed by a warrant, can get the data in a finite time.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  22. I agree with happy. Given the feds’ record of corruption, treachery, incompetence, and unaccountability, the technical issues seem secondary.

    Richard Aubrey (472a6f)

  23. but the precedent is not to pay a market wage.

    Why shouldn’t the government pay a living wage for jury service? Or maybe the minimum wage? Even Army draftees get paid.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  24. lois lerner went wholly unpunished

    and the sleazy harvardtrash attorney general bim we have now is being rewarded for looking the other way with a seat on failmerica’s supremely sleazy high court

    fedpigs can’t be trusted end of story

    thank you for tuning into another episode of storytime with happyfeet

    happyfeet (831175)

  25. The day that Apple agrees to do this thing “just once, for this one phone” under threats from the US government, they will receive another threat from the Chinese government. Then from the Russian government. Then the EU. And so on.

    Well, maybe they shouldn’t be selling stuff to evil countries.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  26. Patterico, because the software does not now exist, those countries can’t demand Apple give it to them. Once it does, the refusal to do so will be “contempt of court”, which entitles the government to take the recalcitrant into custody (kidnap). (But you knew that.)

    Why can’t China make the same demand right now? Why do they have to wait for a US version to be written first? It may be a slippery slope, but they’re already on it.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  27. The judge should give Apple 3 days, then jail Cook and the directors.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  28. You’re a von Mises fan, right? Here is a selection of germane quotes (though I’m not sure they measure up to happy’s “fedpigs can’t be trusted end of story”).

    “All those not familiar with economics (i.e., the immense majority) do not see any reason why they should not coerce other people by means of force to do what these people are not prepared to do of their own accord.” Austrian Economics: An Anthology, p. 75

    “It is in the nature of the men handling the apparatus of compulsion and coercion to overrate its power to work, and to strive at subduing all spheres of human life to its immediate influence. “ Omnipotent Government, p. 58

    “A new type of superstition has got hold of people’s minds, the worship of the state. People demand the exercise of the methods of coercion and compulsion, of violence and threat. Woe to anybody who does not bend his knee to the fashionable idols!” Omnipotent Government, p. 11

    “The whole of mankind’s progress has had to be achieved against the resistance and opposition of the state and its power of coercion.” Liberalism, p. 58

    ThOR (a52560)

  29. The simple fact is that our government has completely destroyed any trust whatsoever in their “good intentions”. I don’t believe that I even know anyone with any level of trust in government. And if you think that this applies only to the Federal government, I have a real estate deal for you.

    This is also not an isolated situation. Our government has been trying to get total access to everyone’s communications, bank records, medical records, personal history, everything, for years. These are the same people who have changed the US from being the most free people in the world to 30 th place, or so. OF COURSE, they will use the program on every cell phone they seize. OF COURSE, they will they will use this as another opening to try to control and dominate citizens. It’s what they do. All the rest is just pure BS.

    I happen to greatly dislike Apple for any number of reasons. But I can’t fault them on this one.

    GaryS (3eec38)

  30. I am not a person that usually agrees with Happy Feet… But in this case, “fedpigs can’t be trusted end of story”, cannot disagree.

    At this point, there is no semblance of of responsibility in our government. We have a governing class and bureaucrats that are never held to pay for their miss-deeds. If any one of us citizens where caught doing, would find ourselves in jail/bankrupt in a New York Minute.

    If the government wants this level of power–Then call them terrorists/enemy spies and turn the military on them. Do not try to wage war via trampling on our civil liberties.

    More than likely, there is little of value that will be used on that work phone. If the country screwed up and did not keep a master key to their phones/backups–Tough.

    If the government does not want terrorists/spies to be protected by our civil liberties–Then don’t invite them into our country, give them citizenship, and grant them protection.

    BfC (5517e8)

  31. I cannot believe I’m agreeing with Happy, but I am. I don’t support our encroaching fascist state and I do not believe you can just get rid of an illegal search by creating a court order to do so thereby forcing a 3rd party to do your bidding against their will. It was my biggest problem with the Patriot Act.

    If the Feds cannot figure out how to hack the phone on their own, tough. They can only use the tools they have, not force others to do their bidding for them. We are citizens, not slaves.

    NJRob (a07d2e)

  32. There’s another great Cruz ad about Rubio.

    ThOR (a52560)

  33. I was leaning towards Apple’s view of the situation until I learned it was a work-issued phone (with the appropriate disclaimers) owned by a political subdivision who consented to the search.

    While the libertarian in me appreciates Tim Cook’s stance here, he’s picked the worst possible ground on which to stake his defence.

    Captain Ned (d080c3)

  34. I was leaning towards Apple’s view of the situation until I learned it was a work-issued phone (with the appropriate disclaimers) owned by a political subdivision who consented to the search.

    While the libertarian in me appreciates Tim Cook’s stance here, he’s picked the worst possible ground on which to stake his defence.

    Captain Ned (d080c3) — 2/19/2016 @ 10:39 am

    It doesn’t change anything. The software desired doesn’t exist. You cannot force someone to create something against their will.

    It will also give the government the ability to hack all phones in the future no matter how much they claim it is a one time use. Once the genie is out of the box, it cannot be put back in.

    NJRob (a07d2e)

  35. I am sorry, maybe I am missing something. The court order requests Apple to deliver a software package to FBI so they can run it on the phone and disable the security features. This is different from telling Apple to unlock the phone. Yes, I understand that the claim is “just once, this phone only”, but the software package, encrypted or not, would still be in the government’s hands. I understand Apple’s reluctance to release the software, even to the FBI. I don’t see where the order says that the FBI will deliver the phone to Apple and have them modify it. Their objection is giving the software package to the government. It hard to blame them for that.

    Cincimaddog (85577b)

  36. First, the government is not asking Apple to break the phone’s encryption.

    The three requests wouldn’t “break” Apple’s encryption, they would simply reveal it to be so easy to break as to be useless.

    They are seeking to have Apple turn off an auto-erase function, which (when turned on) automatically erases all the data on an iPhone if there are ten consecutive incorrect attempts to enter the four-digit passcode.

    So, if someone gets an iPhone and makes the change, there’s only a matter of time before they can try all 10,000 possible combinations to unlock the phone and get the data.

    They are seeking to have Apple allow the passcodes to be entered electronically — so nobody has to manually type in every possible four-digit combination.

    So, entering all 10,000 codes can be done by plugging the phone into a computer and walking away.

    And they are seeking to have Apple disable a feature that introduces delays of increasing length as incorrect guesses at the passcode are made.

    So, the computer will be able to guess all 10,000 codes with only a constant delay in between each guess.
    If it turns out to be easy to change those features in the specific case of Syed Farook’s phone, then Apple’s encryption will be revealed to be security theater. A competent security setup would make it prohibitively difficult to change encryption settings to make cracking the encryption so trivial. Even if Apple used slipshod security settings that can be easily changed, they have to act like it’s about as difficult as breaking the encryption directly, or else every hacker in the world will know exactly how to get data off any iPhone.

    CayleyGraph (353727)

  37. “I talked to some tech guys who said …”

    ^^^ Flag that stupidity is about to follow.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  38. NJRob, if there’s a search warrant, it’s not a warrantless search; rather the search complies with the Fourth Amendment.

    So why do you describe this as an “illegal search”? I submit to you that you don’t obviously know the difference.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  39. By “illegal,” in other words, you mean “I don’t like this.”

    Beldar (fa637a)

  40. I’m a little confused. I’ve been told to never, ever use public wifi because of how easy it is to hack my personal data on my phone. I’ve been told to never put anything on my phone that might cause me problems because of how easy it is to hack my iPhone. I’ve been told to destroy my old cell phones because even if they are erased, the information can be retrieved. Do a Google search and there’s lots of ways to hack an iPhone 5c.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+hack+an+iphone+5c+passcode

    Of course I ignore most of this advice because I just don’t care. Is it really that hard to hack an iPhone?

    Tanny O'Haley (c674c7)

  41. pony express
    carrier pigeon
    morse code
    smoke signals

    mg (31009b)

  42. Give it up, Cook.

    Colonel Haiku (820854)

  43. I am *generally* on the government’s side in this case, AND I have a concern about cost.

    Unless the software in question was designed to operate this way, which I doubt, writing AND TESTING software which is designed to operate this way is going to take weeks of engineering and QA time. Assuming it’s only one engineer, which is unlikely, that’s still on the order of $10,000 of costs incurred to meet this request.

    For a one-off request that’s probably ok, although note the difficulty a small company would have in meeting it.

    But this won’t be a one-off request. There will be other cases, in the future.

    So the only way to avoid incurring these costs is to design the software to work this way in general, which then reduces the security for everyone else, because if it’s designed to work this way in general, it’s going to be easier for bad actors to compromise.

    The only real way around that, I think, is for Apple (or any other similarly situated company) to be able to bill the DoJ for the labor costs involved in designing and testing the special software.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  44. Tanny, the issue with public wireless networks is NOT that the phone is necessarily easy to hack – it’s that it’s trivially easy for some bad actor to listen in on anything you’re sending over the wireless network and snarf passwords, etc. I use an encrypted VPN when on public networks for that reason – they’d have to be able to decrypt what i’m sending, which is harder.

    I’m sure there are ways to hack an iPhone. I’m an android user, so I don’t follow the iPhone news, but I know that android has a problem (for example) where someone can use a carefully crafted MMS message to do bad things to your phone (it’s fixed in recent versions of Android, but Samsung/AT&T haven’t rolled it out on my phone; i’ve disabled MMS).

    But what the government wants to do is try to brute force the guy’s password, and the phone software is specifically designed to guard against that. Which is to say: the particular *way* the government wants to get in is something which is well protected against, so they’re asking for the protection to be lowered on just this one device.

    It’s sort of like they are a siege army trying to assault the city’s fortifications at its most well-defended spot, and are asking the guys in charge of the defenses to wave off some of the defenders to make it easier.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  45. Kevin M – speaking as a professional software guy, I would be *astonished* if they could write and test a special-case patch for this problem in just three days.

    The guys tasked with doing this aren’t going to be the guys who wrote the code initially (those guys are probably gone), and testing it to make sure that it’s limited to specified devices is going to be a pain.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  46. Patterico, at 10 – I would argue that we don’t pay jurors enough, and that this is a real problem.

    But more to the point: Apple can absorb this cost, clearly. The issue for me is that it’s not clear that every software vendor *could* absorb the cost — and unlike jury duty, where there’s a way to get out of it if jury duty would cause a real financial hardship, there’s no way for the software vendors who can’t absorb the cost to get out of it.

    So I somewhat view Apple’s fighting it as a victory for those little guys.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  47. As ever, it comes down to Big Government vs. small government, and cause and effect. What is the result of the War On Drugs? Inevitably, a war on people possessing cash, warrantless car searches, often enough a war on people with guns. What is the result of a War On Terror? A war on the 4th amendment. Luckily, there is always a natural counterflow- when the government makes drugs illegal, many enterpreneurs will step in to accomodate the public demand (and the $ and death cost to society won’t prevent that). When government makes privacy illegal, enterpreneurs (or idealists) will soon step in to provide effective private software, regardless of what the laws say. We’ve seen that technology inevitably flows around and beyond tyranny.

    Luke Stywalker (a31c17)

  48. I get that the government would like to have the information on this phone because of the events surrounding it, the phone’s owner and the investigation into the shooting. I’d even be willing to stipulate that the warrant is justified and the end result of the request is reasonable, but I do have a couple of questions for anyone who IS a lawyer and/or judge.

    Does the government have any legal grounds on which to compel a private party to produce a good or product that undermines the reputation of their brand? Can the government force a company to expend capital for time and materials, labor and then turn that over to the government (with no compensation) for the express purpose of defeating security settings designed to improve the public perception and demand for their premier product?

    If I build software that encrypts a hard drive, and it is the premier hard drive encryption software commercially available in the world. My livelihood depends on the reputation for impenetrability of the encryption. If I am then compelled to crack, remove, defeat, or back door that encryption, I will, by DEFINITION, be reducing the reputation of my product.

    Even if the request is constitutional, reasonable, targeted, would I as the business owner not owe it to my employees and shareholders to resist the destruction of my business?

    alen (ffc15a)

  49. aphrael, is this like:
    Government: Mr. Architect, we want to get into nk’s house without him knowing and destroying evidence. Here’s a warrant, give us the passkey.
    Architect: There is no passkey.
    Government: You have been served with a warrant for one, you better come up with one.
    Architect: How? One does not exist?
    Government: Make one.

    nk (9faaca)

  50. Its like when hitler attacked stalin you didn’t know who to boo for!

    kurtz (abfda3)

  51. You know. . .if I was trying to sweep up all possible terrorists and terrorist enablers that could be located via the data in the phone, I’d probably want to stage a loud argument with the creators of the phone, to make it seem like they were massively resisting making this sort of access available, while quietly making arrangements with the creator to go ahead and do it (but never admitting it). This would both allow whatever figures could be grabbed to be grabbed, while possibly creating future situations where other phones could be mined for that purpose, since the public position would be that the data was not available.

    M. Scott Eiland (1edade)

  52. 37. …You cannot force someone to create something against their will.

    NJRob (a07d2e) — 2/19/2016 @ 10:54 am

    Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barack Obama, the Roberts Court, and your health insurance policy would beg to disagree.

    Or have you just not been paying attention for last 7 years?

    Steve57 (b30def)

  53. Their objection is giving the software package to the government

    Apple has not been ordered to give the software package to the government. They can retain it and destroy it afterwards.

    There is indeed a “slippery slope” in that I believe this is not the only iPhone that will ever be the subject of a valid warrant. I think if I am prosecuting a murderer and my detectives get a warrant to search his phone, I should be able to obtain the contents of the phone to assist in a murder prosecution.

    Patterico (20cda7)

  54. @7, 10, 15, 22, 46, 49: a party served with a writ under the All Writs Act has the right to a hearing to be reimbursed for the costs of complying with the writ.

    pretzalcoatl (360080)

  55. Patterico. Thing is, you may be trustworthy. Or not. WRT the feds, the question is settled.

    Richard Aubrey (472a6f)

  56. US v. Mountain States Telephone, 616 F2d 1122 (9th Cir.)

    pretzalcoatl (360080)

  57. https://www.yahoo.com/politics/at-cruz-rally-in-sc-duck-dynasty-star-condemns-174909102.html

    wrong link above. Watch the video after Cruz to see an arrogant Jeb.

    jrt for Cruz (bc7456)

  58. I’m voting with ThOr and hapyfeet and the other NAY!-sayers.

    “Just this one time for just this one machine” ??????

    ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FREAKING MIND ???

    With Obama’s Big Government (heck — with ANY government) there is *NEVER* … *NO-HOW*, *NO-WAY* … going to be a “just this one time”.

    The saying “success breeds success” comes to mind. If this is a successful gambit, “just this once, and JUST, *ONLY* for this single machine” will happen again next week, twice more the week after, 30 times in March, and 20,000 times by the end of the year.

    I am MUCH —MUCH!!!!— more afraid of my own government than I am of a bunch of bloodthirsty Muslim savages.

    A_Nonny_Mouse (ea2b25)

  59. @7, 10, 15, 22, 46, 49: a party served with a writ under the All Writs Act has the right to a hearing to be reimbursed for the costs of complying with the writ

    Great! And so the compensation argument is addressed. Thanks for that.

    Patterico (20cda7)

  60. The saying “success breeds success” comes to mind. If this is a successful gambit, “just this once, and JUST, *ONLY* for this single machine” will happen again next week, twice more the week after, 30 times in March, and 20,000 times by the end of the year.

    Pursuant to a valid warrant? I can only hope you’re right!

    Patterico (20cda7)

  61. You people do realize your home can be searched with a warrant, right? Your computer searched? Your cell phone records obtained?

    Do you realize you give your Social Security number, date of birth, address, and detailed financial Information to the government every year?

    Because you do.

    Patterico (20cda7)

  62. But the point is that, with this technology, each time this sort of relief is requested is limited to the one device as to which there is a warrant.

    Patterico (20cda7)

  63. Just a point on the economics of this. The sort of “cost” that government typically compensates for is time and materials. It virtually never compensates for opportunity cost. Since Apple is using this heightened security feature in its battle for market dominance with Google, is is easy to imagine that the cost of the lost opportunity to Apple is in billions of dollars. It is difficult to imagine that the court has the authority to make a compensatory payment anywhere approaching this cost.

    So, maybe the compensation argument is not addressed.

    ThOR (a52560)

  64. 65.You people do realize your home can be searched with a warrant, right? Your computer searched? Your cell phone records obtained?

    Do you realize you give your Social Security number, date of birth, address, and detailed financial Information to the government every year?

    Because you do.
    Patterico (20cda7

    Yes, sadly the Federal government would rather take a YouTube video maker into custody as he rides his first Amendment right to the edge of annoyance, than go after Islamic militia.

    Fear no man, fear God.

    jrt for Cruz (bc7456)

  65. Calling for Cook to be jailed is a touch fascist, no?

    I don’t trust the government to do this.

    JD (877a23)

  66. NJRob, if there’s a search warrant, it’s not a warrantless search; rather the search complies with the Fourth Amendment.

    So why do you describe this as an “illegal search”? I submit to you that you don’t obviously know the difference.

    Beldar (fa637a) — 2/19/2016 @ 11:19 am

    Because you’re forcing a 3rd party that has not done anything illegal to engage in behavior they refuse to do. Clear violation of the 13th amendment.

    Just like I stand on the side of bakers and their right to refuse to make anything they choose not to, I stand on the side of tech companies in their refuse to make a product they choose not to.

    njrob (7b20e7)

  67. Patterico,

    I’d enjoy reading a response to Ted. H’s comment (#5). He mentions some technical aspects that go to the heart of the matter. In addition, given the iPhone and iOS’s design, it’s not just 5C’s that would be vulnerable, but all later iPhones as well running iOS 8+, I believe.

    As Ted asks, “Is there a right to design an electronic storage device in such a way that once a password is lost no one should be able to access the information contained on it?”

    You seem to be saying, “No.”

    Look forward to your thoughts.

    Doug (198b87)

  68. You do realize that, if feds manage to compel Apple to manufacture “special purpose soft” through the “all writs” law, this precedent could be then used to compel other companies to manufacture special-purpose assets that compromise security of their own products, and that includes ability to compel certificate authorities to make “fake” certificates that pass as normal for your browser, and forcing microsoft to manufacture “targeted” poisoned updates?

    passingperson (c4b392)

  69. the software in question would have a unique identifier so that it would only work with this single device.

    Eh, won’t first Apple and then the government want to test the software to make sure that it works? That’s what they generally do with tools. What that means in practice is that the software will be built so that it will work with a broad range of devices (perhaps everything up to a 5C, but perhaps not the 5S and later due to changes in its trust model.)

    The government will certainly want to test the software on other phones, since if there is an error when the tool is used on the particular iPhone in question, it will erase all data on it. They will not blindly try the software on the one with only one shot. Therefore, it seems extremely likely that either the software will be handed over to the government for testing in a form that would work with a great number of devices, or else that the unique identifier is something that can be fairly easily spoofed.

    That’s not even getting into the precedent issue, nor getting into the technical issue of how software with a check for a particular identifier added on late in the process is software whose check can be fairly easily removed and the software reverse engineered through disassembly and decompilation.

    The government may, of course, in practice only use it on the one phone (or may not). But it is ludicrous to suggest that the actual software will be limited.

    John Thacker (b8ffb4)

  70. Is a warrant valid if the property or effects sought to be seized do not exist and the government has notice that they do not exist?

    nk (9faaca)

  71. “While the libertarian in me appreciates Tim Cook’s stance here, he’s picked the worst possible ground on which to stake his defence.”Captain Ned

    Tim Cooke didn’t choose to make this the test case; the federal government did. They chose it because it puts their power-grab in the best possible light and Apple’s defense of liberty in the worst possible light. The Feds understand that “hard cases make bad law,” and they’re using it to their advantage.

    ThOR (a52560)

  72. I. Don’t. Trust. The. Government.

    And I find the idea of forcing a company to create something that doesn’t exist that will devalue their own product loathsome.

    JD (877a23)

  73. #7

    Creating a new product may not be hard for Apple, but Apple charges for new product. Software development teams don’t work for free. Why should the government get custom software products built for free?

    Frank Skog (e75916) — 2/19/2016 @ 8:19 am

    Apple most likely has already incurred those costs to turn off the auto erase feature when the created the software – part of the testing of the subroutine to see if it works.

    Joe - From Texas (debac0)

  74. NJRob, if there’s a search warrant, it’s not a warrantless search; rather the search complies with the Fourth Amendment.

    So why do you describe this as an “illegal search”? I submit to you that you don’t obviously know the difference.

    Beldar (fa637a) — 2/19/2016 @ 11:19 am

    Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barack Obama, the Roberts Court, and your health insurance policy would beg to disagree.

    Or have you just not been paying attention for last 7 years?

    Steve57 (b30def) — 2/19/2016 @ 12:21 pm

    I have and just because some criminals in government and some blacked robed thugs say something is legal doesn’t make it so. The court doesn’t have the ability to overturn by God given rights. They are inalienable and include my right to my property.

    A bunch or jack booted thugs doesn’t make it legal or permissible.

    njrob (7b20e7)

  75. That warrant is doubtlessly valid for the phone search. But that’s not the issue. Look at my architect/key example.

    nk (9faaca)

  76. You cannot force someone to create something against their will.

    Where are you writing this from? A deep bunker on Libertarian Island?

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  77. speaking as a professional software guy, I would be *astonished* if they could write and test a special-case patch for this problem in just three days.

    And, with the same claims (assembly -> C -> Verilog) I would be astonished if it isn’t just a compile switch. Number_of_fails_before_wipe=10 changed to 9999. OK, maybe it is limited to 256 but I’d be houses they don’t use bytes any more. It’s not like the uP does. That would solve the basic problem. The rest of it is “would be nice.”

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  78. “I talked to some tech guys who said …”

    If they are going to say something about the LAW, it often is. Just as

    “I talked to some lawyers who said …”

    is usually a stupid flag if they are talking about tech.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  79. NK, at 52: yeah, basically. The architect has to make the passkey. In this case it can probably be done, but there’s a time and energy cost.

    Patterico, at 56: unfortunately they *do* have to give it to the government in the sense that they have to actually install it on this phone. Does the government have the ability to *remove* it from this phone and copy it onto other phones?

    I think as a technical matter it’s possible to prevent it from WORKING on other phones if they do that. But it’s something the people writing the software will have to consider and test.

    Petzalcoatl, at 57: awesome!

    PassingPerson, at 72: yeah, that’s the clear implication. AND I think that with a warrant that’s fine.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  80. Kevin M, at 82: as a lawyer and a computer programmer, I get to be the exception to that rule! :)

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  81. #52:

    nk–

    If that were the case, you’d be SOL. If Apple was being required to actually recreate a 128 bit AES key, you might as well be asking them to swim to Alpha Centauri.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  82. Do you realize you give your Social Security number, date of birth, address, and detailed financial Information to the government every year?

    Yes sir, I do realize that. Of course on the back of my Social Security card says (paraphrasing) that the card may only be used as an identification with the Social Security Administration and no other Federal entity or State government. No business can demand or use the number as id. It can only be used as an id with the Social Security Administration.

    In short, the government’s willingness to change agreements and circumstances without any input from the other party to the agreement has been demonstrated and there is no reason to suggest the government would ever change their behavior.

    gitarcarver (0e8c2b)

  83. In short, the government’s willingness to change agreements and circumstances without any input from the other party to the agreement has been demonstrated and there is no reason to suggest the government would ever change their behavior.

    And your point?

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  84. If the “devalued use” of Apple’s products is the diminution of its value to ISIS-inspired and -related terrorists, I’m not too concerned about that. I see that as a feature, not a bug, JD.

    What if Apple advertised itself thusly: Our phones are so secure that even after weeks of trying, the FBI can’t break into them without our help, and we’re so big and cool and have so many fanboys that we’re going to defy a lawful court order issued in compliance with the Fourth Amendment. Apple iPhone — the cool brand, whether you’re a Hollywood star or an international terrorist.Isn’t that pretty much the “feature” that Apple’s concerned about diluting?

    They lose me at the “defying a lawful court order” part.

    Of course, Apple is also a convicted international price-fixing conspirator, and proud of it, so … I’m already not among their biggest fans.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  85. It seems to me that there is still dispute about the technical facts of this.

    Do we all agree that LE has a right to obtain a warrant to get information off of the phone?
    I believe we do.
    And that if it was possible to produce the information off of the phone people would need to comply or be in contempt and possibly their CEO could be thrown in jail?
    I believe we do.

    So the question is two-fold, it seems:
    given that there is no way to simply get the info,
    can the government compel a solution to the problem?
    and
    should they, depending on the overall consequences of doing so?

    It seems to me there is still dispute back and forth over the potential consequences,
    can this be done “just for this specific instance at the request of a specific subpoena or not”?
    I don’t know enough to know who to believe.

    MD in Philly (at the moment not in Philly) (deca84)

  86. @ njrob: Got it. You’re an anarchist. That you reject the Rule of Law — including its protections of civil liberties, including the right to share in a common public defense against crime — tells me everything I need to know about how much attention I need pay to your further comments.

    Cheers. Say hi to the Unibomber for me when you see him.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  87. What they are risking:

    Let’s say that in 2019, the Supreme Court rules 9-2 that Apple has to open up the phone in question and pay a $7 billion fine. When they do that they discover the plans for the March 23rd 2016 destruction of the Golden Gate Bridge at rush hour — a terror act that dwarfed the 9/11 attacks killing 11,000. Within a week, Apple has been hit by a massive wrongful death class action suit asking one trillion dollars and has filed for bankruptcy.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  88. I think a warrant to produce something without reimbursement sort of assumes that the request can be fulfilled “in the normal course of events”
    that to request a private company to actually develop something new should be a reimbursable action.

    And, whether it makes sense or not in the details of what this entails, I think the FBI can request the info off of the phone, but they can’t request/order a private company to develop something new and then give it to the government.

    But that is my non-lawyerness trying to reason for the laity.

    MD in Philly (at the moment not in Philly) (deca84)

  89. Mind you, the “solution” that the USA is asking for, at minimum, is changing two well documented numbers: NUMBER-OF-TRYS-BEFORE-WIPE and DELAY-INCREASE-BETWEEN-TRY. Then recompile the new version and install. This can be dome at Apple, by Apple employees, and the phone never needs to leave Apple’s premises.

    This is all being done by means of a lawful process. Apple claims that if they do this then other countries who don’t follow lawful processes will want the same thing, as if something is stopping them now. Apple’s argument has no merit.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  90. We never would have won WW2 had it been fought today.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  91. Kevin – the scenario you described above is exactly why the government chose this to be their test case. They want you scared. They want you to hate Apple and pray the wonderful government is just looking out for our safety.

    Beldar – some would disagree on the lawful part of that court order.

    JD (877a23)

  92. MD, can police order a locksmith to make a key to a door if for some reason they don’t want to smash it?

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  93. This is a public relations stunt by Apple. I think it’s odious.

    Respectfully, nk, I don’t think your key example is apt. Courts can, and routinely do, order reasonable means of cooperation from civilians who’re responding to legally issued subpoenas. The civilian can’t just say, “Okay, I’m not doing anything to stop you from searching and seizing, therefore I’m complying with all my obligations and I get to ignore the rest of what the court has ordered me to do.”

    If ordering someone to make a passkey in order to effectuate a legal search & seizure made under a valid search warrant, a judge could indeed order that. In the real world, for most locks, the cops would just break the lock, break down the door, whatever. (To avoid that, most people would probably make the passkey, eh?) But yeah, I can imagine a great big honking physical analog (non-digital) chromium-metal Mk-1 wall safe which had been booby-trapped by the terrorists so that it couldn’t be blown open without destroying its contents. In which instance, a judge might well order the Moser Safe Company (or whomever made the safe) to provide affirmative technical help in how to defeat that bobby-trap.

    I don’t know why you think there’s some sort of unwritten immunity from further court orders ancillary to, and in enforcement of, a warrant that would authorize a search and seizure. I don’t think there is any such immunity. And while the government’s ability to compel affirmative cooperation, through court orders ancillary to a lawful search and seizure subpoena, isn’t an unlimited one, surely in setting those limits — as when a judge rules upon a motion to quash — one has to weigh burden against benefit.

    Stopping terrorists versus making Apple look less cool about privacy than it would like to look? I find that an easy determination.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  94. JD: If someone disagrees with whether a subpoena, or a court order enforcing and ancillary to a subpoena, is lawful, there are mechanisms to test that, and there’s appellate or mandamus review available. So if some think this particular subpoena is unlawful, I’d be interested in any specific argument to support that, and I’d suggest they tell it to the judge.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  95. JD–

    I’m not scared. I just think that Apple needs to obey the law, too. They have NO reason to object to this lawful order other than some grandstanding play to make up for the NSA crap (where they should have objected but did not).

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  96. Good company: “At a rally today in South Carolina, Donald Trump called for a boycott of Apple products in response to the company’s current legal standoff with the FBI . . .”

    ThOR (a52560)

  97. JD: I bow to no one in my skepticism about the Obama Justice Department. But this is the FBI trying to investigate a case of terrorism. The terrorists are the bad guys here. You say the government picked this as their test case; no, they need the information on that phone to investigate a particularly deadly and important terrorism case.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  98. Beldar – I hope they do. Because some of us find the idea of the government compelling a private party to do something like this an awful precedent. And this is not a stunt by Apple, it is the other way around. Kevin’s doomsday scenario above is exactly what the government wants people thinking about.

    JD (877a23)

  99. It’s Apple who’s manipulating this circus. Yeah, the Obama DoJ is capable of — indeed guilty of — other media circuses. That’s not this, though.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  100. I think the FBI agents are trying to catch more terrorists here. It’s exactly that simple.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  101. Here’s the real fun Apple fact: They advertise using your fingerprint as the most secure way of locking up your files, when — given their present intransigence — it is less secure than a 4-digit PIN. Why? You cannot be forced to give up your PIN. Fifth Amendment. But your finger is right there in the open to be swiped. No torture required. Even dead, your fingerprint usually is available. So, terrorists, always use the PIN.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  102. There is probable cause — about the most abundant probable cause one could possible ever imagine!!! — to believe that the phone has relevant evidence on it. That’s the constitutional test. This isn’t a remotely close case; and the technical aspects of it may be novel, but they’re easily dealt with by existing law. Other cases — putting GPS tracers on cars, for example — may generate genuinely difficult Fourth Amendment issues, but this one doesn’t.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  103. Kevin’s doomsday scenario above is exactly what the government wants people thinking about.

    I am surprised that APPLE isn’t thinking about it.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  104. I’ll agree to disagree, wholeheartedly, with Beldar. Not so much with Kevin who wants to jail people and let out his inner tyrant.

    JD (877a23)

  105. “104.I think the FBI agents are trying to catch more terrorists here.” Then here’s hoping ISIS has more deserters to trade for’em.

    Rev. Hoagie™® (f4eb27)

  106. JD, why do you think that Tim Cook should be able to stop the FBI from accessing the content of that phone. You must have a reason other than “the terrorists deserve privacy.”

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  107. And if there’s a constitutional issue involved — if anyone has standing to challenge the legality of the underlying search warrant — that whole issue gets mooted by the fact that the owner of the phone (the county government) has consented to the search and waived any privacy rights it had to the information on it. The dead terrorist never had any legitimate expectation of privacy on that phone anyway, i.e., even if he were alive, he couldn’t have gotten this search warrant suppressed or quashed.

    Tell me again why you think “some question the legality” — some who, other than Apple or people worried about Apple? And on what possible legal basis, with what standing? I just don’t get it.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  108. I never thought I’d hear so many commenters on this site attest to the bona fides of the Obama DOJ.

    It stretches credulity.

    ThOR (a52560)

  109. If the idea is that Tim Cook is not obligated to help, why do I have to pull over to the side of the road just because some asshat has got some red lights and sirens going on his car?

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  110. I never thought I’d hear so many conservatives take the side of jihadist killers against the US government.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  111. Because I do not believe the government should be able to force people to create something that does not exist just to make their jobs easier. If it is such a simple solution, why can’t the NSA hack it for them? This won’t be some isolated incident, it will set the precedent. Not to mention all of the unintended consequences, development time, testing, how it will effect iOS systems. There are more unknown unknowns than known. And they will never be compensated for their opportunity costs, and diminishment of value. That’s just off the top of my head. But go ahead. Jail people. Show the world the work around to the PIN codes. It might not happen immediately. But it will happen.

    JD (877a23)

  112. Prone to hyperbole much, Kev?

    JD (877a23)

  113. Here’s your specific sentence that I can’t follow, JD: “Some of us find the idea of the government compelling a private party to do something like this an awful precedent.”

    The government has been compelling private parties to respond to lawful search & seizure warrants, issued with probable cause, since the lawyers representing the government were there on behalf of “The Crown” and not just “The People.” The Declaration of Independence and, later, the Fourth Amendment were both in direct reaction to the Crown’s departure from the subpoena and probable cause requirements.

    But there’s no “precedent” being set here. This isn’t making any legal precedents; it’s a fact-specific dispute about the reasonableness and completeness of Apple’s compliance with lawful court orders ancillary to a lawful search & seizure under a warrant which was issued after a showing of probable cause, and with consent. Apple hasn’t complied; it could; it’s been ordered to; it still won’t. Apple better change its mind or some responsible decisionmaker there is indeed going to jail, to remain there until Apple purges itself from contempt. Apple might fight that in court, but it will assuredly lose, no matter how many high priced lawyers it hires and how vigorously it manipulates the press (as its done with its price-fixing conspiracy conviction).

    Beldar (fa637a)

  114. MD, can police order a locksmith to make a key to a door if for some reason they don’t want to smash it?
    Kevin M (25bbee) — 2/19/2016 @ 3:19 pm

    My total non-lawyer thinking says that the police can request a master key to the lock if the locksmith has one.
    If not they can offer to pay the locksmith for services rendered.
    If the locksmith refuses, find another locksmith, or send a police officer to locksmith school.

    My non-lawyer FWIW off the cuff thinking.

    MD in Philly (at the moment not in Philly) (deca84)

  115. Hey, citizen. We have probable cause to search this heavily fortified compound. Word on the street is that you’re in the compound fortifying business. Guess what? You’ve been conscripted to help us break into this compound. Doing something else with your day, you say? Too bad. The State needs you, son. Hop on in.

    Leviticus (a8efb0)

  116. And JD, I’m just mystified: You don’t want to “make their jobs easier” when it’s FBI agents investigating a terrorism ring?

    That way lies anarchy, my friend.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  117. People keep justifying this by saying “the terrorists are the bad guys.” There can be more than one set of bad guys, folks. Some more powerful than others. The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend.

    Leviticus (a8efb0)

  118. Beldar – they are demanding that Apple create something that does not exist. And Apple chose not to make it exist for a reason. This is where non-lawyers know the law is an arse. This is decidedly different than giving access to a filing cabinet.

    JD (877a23)

  119. Apple does not have the current ability to provide the requested information, as far as I can determine,
    and it is not a trivial matter without potential consequence to develop the ability to get it, so while I think the DOJ is perfectly reasonable to want this info,
    I do not myself understand just how big a deal it is, how much resources it would consume, and what the risks are.

    But what do I know, other than this is a matter in the public square and a lot of us who know nothing are opining…

    MD in Philly (at the moment not in Philly) (deca84)

  120. Beldar – I don’t care what they are investigating. It could be a murder. Petty drug non-sense. Hillary’s deleted emails. I object to what they are trying to force someone else to do.

    JD (877a23)

  121. But to Beldar’s point, I have a portrait of Albert Parsons tattooed on my arm.

    Leviticus (a8efb0)

  122. “(U)ninteded consequences”? From the DOJ’s perspective, there is nothing unintended in the consequences of this litigation. Federal authorities are sending a message that has little to do with a couple of second-rate Jihadis in San Berdoo.

    ThOR (a52560)

  123. 69. Calling for Cook to be jailed is a touch fascist, no?

    I don’t trust the government to do this.

    JD (877a23) — 2/19/2016 @ 1:36 pm

    Why this, and not other things?

    Why is anyone then jailed awaiting trial?

    To cut to the chase I trust the government with jailing Tim Cook as I would anyone else.

    Steve57 (b30def)

  124. Because I do not believe the government should be able to force people to create something that does not exist just to make their jobs easier.

    They do this all the time. Think of this next time you fill out a tax return. Or a developer has build low-income units. Or airplanes have to install transponders.

    If it is such a simple solution, why can’t the NSA hack it for them?

    You want the NSA to hack Apple’s code? Really this is what you are asking? I am going to bet that Apple is not asking for this.

    This won’t be some isolated incident, it will set the precedent. Now that they have made a federal case of it, it certainly will. And they will lose, so maybe they ought not have gone and done it.

    Not to mention all of the unintended consequences, development time, testing, how it will effect iOS systems. There are more unknown unknowns than known. And they will never be compensated for their opportunity costs, and diminishment of value. That’s just off the top of my head. In order: None, no, changing two numbers? and probably.

    But go ahead. Jail people. You don’t believe that contempt of court should be punished?

    Show the world the work around to the PIN codes. Hey, YOU’RE the one who wants the hack.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  125. So, I DON’T have to move over for the asshat with the siren? Good to know.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  126. Kevin – why do you insist on being dishonest? You have no way of knowing what the risks and consequences are of forcing Apple to do this. In the light most favorable to you, you are pulling your predictions straight out of your bunghole. I was mocking you about the NSA thing. Hi NSA!

    JD (877a23)

  127. Steve – those were 2 separate thoughts, set apart by a hard return between them. One spoke to Kevin being a fascist, and the other to my distrust of the government.

    JD (877a23)

  128. Pull over. Don’t pull over. Not at all analogous. Silly, especially for you.

    JD (877a23)

  129. Forgive me for asking this question – I’m probably like many Americans that don’t know a lot about the operating system on our phones (Apple or Android). I would hope that Apple has a way of either scanning for the PIN using their own software on a laptop/desktop and giving the PIN to the FBI or resetting the PIN to a default number (like 0000). This is how I would think it would play out:

    1. FBI/LEO have a phone that is locked with a PIN. They go obtain a warrant to have the phone unlocked to search the phone for evidence. Judge approved warrant.
    2. FBI/LEO takes phone to Apple/Android manufacturer with approved warrant. Phone manufacturer takes phone and is able to either determine PIN or have the PIN reset to a known value (0000) by plugging it in to a computer with a program that can scan for that info.
    3. Phone manufacturer returns phone to FBI/LEO with PIN or new PIN number.

    Like I stated earlier, I’m not up on the software for the phone so I’m not even sure if this is something realistic.

    Pimp Daddy Welfare (a142e1)

  130. No, Apple does not have that ability.

    JD (877a23)

  131. 87. And your point?

    If you don’t see the point, you never will.

    They do this all the time.

    You then go onto list things that do not make the government’s job easier.

    You don’t believe that contempt of court should be punished?

    Actually, no. It should not be punished. Contempt of court is one of those things where a singular judge is the accuser, the jury and the pronouncer of a sentence. If the judge wants to charge “contempt of court,” then let them make the charge in front of another impartial jury where the accused has the right to counsel. Or don’t you believe in a person’s right to have an actual trial before convicted of something? Do you hate the Constitution that much?

    gitarcarver (0e8c2b)

  132. JD–

    My understanding of code is such that I am making reasonable assumptions about commercial code based on a 40-year career writing same. The limited retry thing is old, and the delay-between-retries is far older. The module in question is NO DOUBT quite distinct and high level, and controlled by parameters that are easily changed. I do have one worry about the retry count — whether someone was stupid enough to ever cast it to a byte quantity — but it’s not something I’d expect.

    Apple’s code for iOS is modern and written by professionals. Certain things about it can be assumed — like it is highly structured, modular and well-documented, and wholly independent of any individuals.

    As such, making the two critical changes (retry limit and increasing delay) is not a big deal. One programmer, one day, give or take. Plus about 12 lawyers and flappers and hangers on.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  133. @ gitarcarver (#135): “Contempt of court is one of those things where a singular judge is the accuser, the jury and the pronouncer of a sentence.”

    That’s just completely wrong. It couldn’t be more wrong description of the governing law.

    In fact, as anyone who knows anything about contempt will tell you, there are elaborate mechanisms by which any single judge’s decision can be challenged, including most obviously — and most clearly rooted in the Constitution — the bringing of a petition for habeas corpus to spring the person who’s been held in contempt from jail.

    Look up that whole Judith Parsons contempt case — which resulted in extensive review and decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and which she then tried to get the SCOTUS to hear (but they refused) — if you want a particularly clear example for how spectacularly wrong your assertion there is.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  134. Sorry, mis-remembered. Judith Miller.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  135. If the judge wants to charge “contempt of court,” then let them make the charge in front of another impartial jury where the accused has the right to counsel. Or don’t you believe in a person’s right to have an actual trial before convicted of something? Do you hate the Constitution that much?

    Where does it stop? You suggest a system that has no natural end to regression. Did you know that even under Robert’s Rules, if the body is appealing the decision of the chair, and a further decision is required of the chair, that cannot be appealed? Wanna guess why?

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  136. @ njrob: Got it. You’re an anarchist. That you reject the Rule of Law — including its protections of civil liberties, including the right to share in a common public defense against crime — tells me everything I need to know about how much attention I need pay to your further comments.

    Cheers. Say hi to the Unibomber for me when you see him.

    Beldar (fa637a) — 2/19/2016 @ 3:03 pm

    I’m the exact opposite. I believe in following the actual rule of law and not what some guys in black robes interpret it as to ensure their preferred policies.

    “Those who would give up essential liberty for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    What constitutional law grants the federal government the right to demand your forced labor to create something that doesn’t exist? The 13th banned slavery did it not?

    njrob (7b20e7)

  137. So it is a guess. Total guess. And flies in the face of what aphrael said above, and everything else I have read on it. You have no idea what their code is. You have no idea why they chose to not do this previously. You have no idea what effects this might have on the rest of system. Basically no idea. Which only scratches the surface of why it’s a bad idea.

    Statist

    JD (877a23)

  138. gitarcarver–

    You seem to think that government, for all it’s many warts, is optional. It isn’t. It’s like gravity. Oh, sure, I know, I’ve read my L Neil Smith and such, but it just isn’t part of this HERE world, and pretending otherwise is foolish. Which was MY point, which YOU missed.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  139. So it is a guess. Total guess. And flies in the face of what aphrael said above, and everything else I have read on it. You have no idea what their code is. You have no idea why they chose to not do this previously. You have no idea what effects this might have on the rest of system. Basically no idea. Which only scratches the surface of why it’s a bad idea.

    You really need to take off the pighead filters before you read, I guess.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  140. JD, how much code have you written?

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  141. So it is a guess. Total guess. And flies in the face of what aphrael said above, and everything else I have read on it. You have no idea what their code is. You have no idea why they chose to not do this previously. You have no idea what effects this might have on the rest of system. Basically no idea. Which only scratches the surface of why it’s a bad idea.

    It is not a guess. This is SO old, there are only a few decent ways to write such a thing. If this change could not be easily made, then it was written by rank incompetents and I am giving Apple credit for not hiring incompetents. This is Programming 101.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  142. I’m confident Patterico, Kerr and Beldar are right on the law but I’ll be interested to see what the feds have to say about the treasure they’re so confident lies in the depths of this phone. I’ll be surprised if it has anything significant they don’t already know through link analysis of its metadata.

    My earlier point was that we’re living with terrorism and Big Brother because they followed us home as 43 warned us they would if we pulled out as 44 did before the fight was won and Iraq and Afghanistan could stand on their own feet.

    crazy (cde091)

  143. I have written zero code. But I read what aphrael wrote, and I have read about this today at a variety of places. Very few people claim it is as simple and without risk as you claim. If it’s so easy, why don’t you write it for them?

    JD (877a23)

  144. Let’s not forget that this situation is due to the fact that a government organization provided one of its employee with a government-owned iPhone that was designed & configured to only be accessible by someone who knew the user’s pin. I hope that in the future government organizations will have an employer’s master key on government-owned devices.

    This is not just for cases of (thankfully rare) terrorist activity, but also for routine cases such as being able to re-issue a phone of a disgruntled former employee to a different user.

    SlimTim (e413ea)

  145. I am working on a couple of projects for mobile apps where we have to use lots of encryption for personal data, financial data, and medical info. In our business plan, it seems like we should budget for writing code that we have chosen to not write, a work around to our security protocols.

    JD (877a23)

  146. I’m confident Patterico, Kerr and Beldar are right on the law but I’ll be interested to see what the feds have to say about the treasure they’re so confident lies in the depths of this phone.

    “Peace on Earth, was all it said.”

    felipe (56556d)

  147. JD–

    The full request by the US Attorney is not trivial. However, the hard parts are also not necessary to accomplish what they need. They NEED two things: The limit of 10 unsuccessful attempts before a data wipe increased to about 9999; and the function that increases the delay between accepting a new try to add the smallest possible increment, preferably 0.

    The rest of it — automated entry and whatnot is just “would be nice” and Apple should ignore it, justifying it as “causing problems in testing.” The FBI can get an intern to enter the tries.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  148. I will also point out that Apple likely already has this code for it’s own purposes. What does Apple do if it fires an employee and they won’t tell them the passcode on their phone? I bet you dollars to donuts Apple already has a passcode buster iOS image they drop on.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  149. *its

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  150. I don’t think you understand me. I don’t care if it is easy or hard, though I find it bordering on ludicrous that it would be as easy as you claim. I don’t care if it is a terrorism investigation of a jaywalking investigation. I think it is wrong, the government is not trustworthy, the DOJ in particular is untrustworthy, it is a ploy by the government, and the Judge, and the law are asses.

    JD (877a23)

  151. Didn’t Apple specifically claim that they do NOT have this code?!

    JD (877a23)

  152. In actuality, I expect that there is very little on the phone that they don’t already have from other sources. No doubt the phone carrier has given them all the called numbers, web logs and such. Then again there were those 9/11 files on that computer that they never checked, so who knows.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  153. And, with the same claims (assembly -> C -> Verilog) I would be astonished if it isn’t just a compile switch. Number_of_fails_before_wipe=10 changed to 9999.

    A 4 pin combo has 40k possibilities, a 5 pin 500k. Hard to take your tech bona fixes seriously when you’re making such comments….twice! Also the time will be limited by the hardware some estimate 80ms.

    Ted H. (efc2a9)

  154. JD,

    If Ronald Reagan were president and these were soviet saboteurs caught red-handed mucking with Shuttle booster segments would you feel the same? Should the LAW care about this?

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  155. #140: njrob, you may have missed this, but a bakery that made wedding cakes featuring a Bride (f) and Groom (m) was asked to create a novel cake, (m + m) or (f + f) I can’t recall, (however, it wasn’t the remaining permutation, m + f) and they declined. After processing this through our legal system, it was decided that they did not have the option of not fulfilling this demand, and bankruptcy and sadness ensued. But society strode one step closer to progressive utopia.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  156. Sorry 10k and 100k but point still stands 😋

    Ted H. (efc2a9)

  157. A 4 pin combo has 40k possibilities

    A 4-digit decimal number has 40,000 possibilities? Really?

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  158. First of all, warrants are irrelevant. The government doesn’t NEED a warrant to search the phone. The phone belongs to the government itself – it was issued to the shooter by the county as part of his employment with the county. The government entrusted their phone – with the auto-erase turned on when they gave it to him – to someone untrustworthy, and allowed him to pick his own secret passcode. And he can’t tell them the passcode because the government itself shot him to death. Their problems are their own making. The government now wants Apple to provide extraordinary technical support so they can recover data on the government’s phone.

    The warrant, as I understand it, was actually to search the guy’s truck (where they found the phone) and it is a stretch to say that Apple must write this software so the FBI can complete the search of the guy’s truck.

    Second, there’s a difference between the government demanding that a doctor turn over existing patient records, and demanding that a doctor diagnose a particular patient for them. Both may require a certain amount of effort, but it’s not the same thing. The government can compel a material witness to testify, but they can’t compel an expert witness to analyze something for them, as I understand it. And they can’t grab a random guy who knows an obscure language and force him to act as a translator if they find something in that phone written in that language, even if that’s the quickest way to know what was written.

    If the State Department said it had to write a program to efficiently search for Hillary’s emails, I think we would all say: OK, write the program . . . and hurry up about it!

    Yeah, but that’s the government. The government doesn’t have rights, and it’s literally their job to do our bidding.

    To make the criminal justice system work, we compel the attendance of jurors, sometimes for weeks, at a pittance.

    Which is also a violation of the 13th amendment. The courts aren’t going to DO anything about it because it would impact their own budgets. And you’re going to bring up the draft? The draft is protested as illegal and immoral every time it’s implemented. This argument is the equivalent of the “but we can’t say fire in a crowded theater” argument (and the case that quote is from, incidentally, was a draft protest case.) It implies that because there is an exception to a right, we can make more exceptions to that right; but it doesn’t do much in saying whether a particular exception should be made. Oh, look, the government can go make us die in a war – I guess that means that, since the right to life has an exception, the government can also make us stand out in a thunderstorm holding a metal pole!

    David C (88a58f)

  159. A little late to the discussion, but why is it really Apple’s responsibility to fix the government’s screw up in the first place? The federal government is, in essence, asking a private company to destroy their marketed product all because the local government entity failed to protect it’s equipment. As it is the local government’s property, it should be their responsibility to turn that information over per the warrant presented by the federal government.

    Did the local government entity not keep that information routed through them for backup? If not, why not? It would be in their (and perhaps their employee’s) best interest to do so. After all, what happens if an employee loses their phone? Is all that information now lost and must be recreated? What if the employee for whatever reason forgets their passcode? Or similar to this situation, dies? Why didn’t the local government entity set the phone up with their own backdoor prior to giving it over to their employee?

    To me, it’s yet to be shown why this isn’t the local government’s issue to resolve and that they are the ones who shouldn’t be held in contempt.

    Dilligas (389b02)

  160. I don’t care who the President is. Government should not be I think business of forcing people to make things that don’t otherwise exist. If Apple chose to not make this code, and there are great reasons to not have it, why in the effin eff should big bad govt be allowed to compel them to do something they chose not to. Like with all the other statist ideas; this isn’t even a slippery slope. It is compulsion. Under threat of jail, which appears to make you gleeful. There is no limiting principle to this beyond what helps the government.

    JD (877a23)

  161. M. Scott Eiland (1edade) — 2/19/2016 @ 12:17 pm

    I hear where you are coming from. so would I, what with shareholder and public opinion to consider.
    Then there is the lesson of Google and China. Apple doesn’t want to screw the pooch. The real equation behind the scenes is “how do we” divide one I-phone by the rights of all I-phone owners plus countless Apple fans, subtract one pesky LEO, and leave one successful business?

    felipe (56556d)

  162. Corrected above you

    Ted H. (efc2a9)

  163. tonight the prez has to drive so far he’ll only find static on the RADIO-O-O-O-O

    happyfeet (831175)

  164. if anything in my whole life was as white as applecrap I’d be an unemployable racist

    this is obvious to anyone who is willing to do the analysis

    happyfeet (831175)

  165. Kevin M. if the Department of Health was using Apple’s business tools to manage corporate phones wouldn’t they have been able to access this phone without the user PIN? It sounds like somebody tried and screwed it up.

    crazy (cde091)

  166. Also the time will be limited by the hardware some estimate 80ms.

    Well, software, but OK. A millisecond is a LONG time for hardware. 10000 x 80ms is 800 sec. A little over 13 minutes. For all I care, Marvin the Intern can punch in all 10,000 codes by hand and it may take him a week at 10 per minute. The main thing is that it CANNOT erase the contents and it CANNOT make entering the next code take unreasonably long.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  167. It sounds like somebody tried and screwed it up.

    Now that is another question. It is entirely possible that someone already effed it up and is trying to shift the blame. I’d expect that to end badly. I think Apple would be quite happy to document that.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  168. tonight APPLE has to drive so far they’ll only find static on the RADIO-O-O-O-O

    happyfeet (831175)

  169. #159: Ted, this is an interesting assertion. When I enter a PIN, the options are to select one digit from [0,1,2, … ,8,9] four times. resulting in a string of length 4. If I sort all the possible enteries, they would fall in the following sequence: [0000,0001, … , 1234, 1235, …. 9998,9999]. But this is just the numbers between 0 and (10000 – 1), which is a bit shy of 40K. What am I missing?

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  170. And if the latest is really true, where Apple is claiming that the FBI changed the passcode and doesn’t know what they changed it to, then it’s pretty pathetic that they want to compel Apple under threat of imprisonment to fix their own screw up.

    Dilligas (389b02)

  171. Of course, in a Libertarian world, the response of a pissed off government would be that no government entity would buy another Apple product. Assuming that there were governments, of course.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  172. @173 10^4 and 10^5. I messed up the formula the first time corrected myself @160

    Ted H. (efc2a9)

  173. #171 Kevin M. Caught that on http://gizmodo.com/the-san-bernardino-terrorists-icloud-password-was-accid-1760158613?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+gizmodo%2Ffull+%28Gizmodo%29 that refers to today’s DOJ filing that says the county reset the PIN remotely but that eliminated the possiblity of an auto-backup.

    This is why I don’t believe this case is really about just this phone and just this time. The feds cherry-picked this one to win the 20+ yr old argument about government access on demand to all encrypted devices.

    crazy (cde091)

  174. #174: Dilligas, if your story proves out, this entire mess involving Apple need not have arisen. All the FBI had to do was to leave the iphone on the kitchen counter after their “CSI” team finished their “investigation” of the murderer’s residence. Then, the next day, when the press ransacked the place, the first member of the 4th estate to see the iphone would have grabbed the device, and its contents would have been broadcast world wide in a week (assuming the editors of the publication that obtained the iphone weren’t mentioned in the call list.) And the bidding for the device, now stripped of any useful information, on EBay would have set records.

    We’d all be better off.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  175. I haven’t seen anything to suggest that anyone at the FBI screwed anything up, but what if they did?

    If so, that means you’re going to root for the terrorists? Because I’d rather see the problem fixed, the evidence gathered, and the terrorists caught or killed.

    You want them to get away because someone in the government screwed up? That’s sick.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  176. A 4-digit decimal number has 40,000 possibilities? Really?

    Why wouldn’t it be 10,000?

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  177. oh god now there’s math just shoot me

    happyfeet (831175)

  178. The FBI has the phone, a search warrant, and the owner’s (county) consent. There is nothing blocking them searching the phone if they want to. So search the phone yourselves (FIB)to your hearts satisfaction. Just quit trying to enslave others to do your bidding!

    Yoda (feee21)

  179. Further clarification coming out appears that it was the local government IT guy that reset the passcode. If so, then that is the person who should be held accountable, not compelling a 3rd party to break their product and destroy (at least some of) it’s marketability.

    Beldar (#179): There’s quite a bit of a false equivalency in your short comment. It is not mutually exclusive to want to see that terrorists are dealt with accordingly and the government being held responsible for their screw up. Unfortunately, we all sometimes have to learn the lesson the hard way. If Apple does this (whether compelled or not), this will not be a “one time” thing – and we all know it, or perhaps some are naively or willfully lying to themselves.

    Dilligas (389b02)

  180. @patterico it’s Friday and I screwed up my permutations 😲. Corrected myself above

    Ted H. (efc2a9)

  181. Further clarification coming out appears that it was the local government IT guy that reset the passcode.

    Indeed — which confuses me. Because, then wouldn’t the county know the passcode?

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  182. Apparently he didn’t reset the passcode, but the iCloud password. If ABC is reporting this correctly.

    The question stands: so don’t they know the password?

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  183. It is precisely because one recalls the Miller situation, and we see who is running the show, that I have no confidence in the regime.

    narciso (732bc0)

  184. 7 7.Creating a new product may not be hard for Apple, but Apple charges for new product. Software development teams don’t work for free. Why should the government get custom software products built for free?

    This and numerous additional comments along the same lines are silly. The government could subpoena the source code and signing keys and make the changes itself. I really doubt Apple would find that less objectionable.

    James B. Shearer (0f56fb)

  185. The government could subpoena the source code and signing keys and make the changes itself. I really doubt Apple would find that less objectionable.

    I have already thought the same thing. It troubles me that I agree with James B. Shearer — but I do.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  186. They need the text and the emails, you don’t need a skeleton key for that.

    narciso (732bc0)

  187. Never mind. I get it now – about the reset password.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  188. But wouldn’t Farook have had the ability to disable WiFi backups? If the latest backup was that old, he probably had.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  189. Under what theory would the government be entitled to the entire source code?

    JD (877a23)

  190. @139 Where does it stop? You suggest a system that has no natural end to regression.

    I have no idea where you come up with that. A system with checks and balances is fine. A system with no checks and balances is not fine.

    Did you know that even under Robert’s Rules, if the body is appealing the decision of the chair, and a further decision is required of the chair, that cannot be appealed?

    I didn’t know that. You know why? Because it isn’t true. If an appeal of a chair’s decision is made, the body may debate the appeal and vote on the appeal. It is not the decision of the chair that is final.

    gitarcarver (0e8c2b)

  191. Once the software is created, it can be modified to work on any phone. Any “unique identifier” stored in software can be removed and replaced with any other “unique identifier” and used on other phones.

    Furthermore, once the software or firmware (which is software stored on a chip) is created, there is nothing to prevent a government agency from demanding Apple release that to them.

    If the government has power they will abuse it. Then they will cover up for the people who have abused that power and they will coerce and intimidate the people who oppose them.

    WarEagle82 (3f92a9)

  192. Those who dismiss the possibility of government abuse of the powers we witness them seizing daily are surely living in an alternate reality. Germany was thought to be a very civilized and intellectual country right up to the election of a minor political figure in the early 1930s. Adolf Hitler garnered just 18% of the vote in 1930. But in a remarkably short time, March of 1933 to June of 1934, Hitler marshaled the powers of a previously moribund German government, and instituted a tyranny that lasted until his suicide in a bunker in Berlin, eleven years later. His largest plurality prior to his ascendancy was just 44% in March of 1933. But with ruthless cunning, he maneuvered his limited forces to control every facet of government, and that was the end of Germany.

    We are creating a governmental apparatus that would allow a suitably ruthless person to do the same thing here. Seven U. S. Marshalls executed a warrant on Mr. Akers in Houston last week. His crime? He hadn’t paid off a $1500 student loan from 1987. The leader of the Marshall’s SWAT team proclaimed that they were looking at 1500 more dead beats, and this was just in Houston. The number of Republicans still residing in Houston is probably of a similar size, and who will be surprised when these well-practiced storm troopers target more tempting victims offering more lucrative returns, say those who might put up yard signs supporting someone other than a Democrat incumbent, for example?

    But, you will argue, that would be illegal! Alas, we all break any number of Federal laws every day without knowing it. For example, we all exhale, and our breath has over 40,000 ppm of CO2. The EPA convinced SCOTUS that CO2 is a “pollutant”, despite hundreds of years of research that has proven it to be a fertilizer for most plant life and thus essential for almost every form of life on earth. Given a need, like putting political opponents in “work” camps, it could just be a matter of time before carefully selected groups are prosecuted for the crime of exhaling “Politically Motivated CO2″. But, you proclaim, they wouldn’t have the resources to do such a thing! The seven U. S. Marshalls who arrested Mr. Akers are proof that they have plenty of people for even the silliest of things. These over-paid knuckle-draggers in the government may be incapable of earning living in the competitive market place, but they have numbers and arms that tilt the balance in their favor.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  193. @137

    That’s just completely wrong. It couldn’t be more wrong description of the governing law.

    Please go back and read what I said. I never claimed the decision of the judge could not be appealed or a writ of habeas corpus brought. What I did say was that the accuser, the person who decides the “guilt” and the sentencing judge are one. There is a basic unfairness there. If a judge wants to make a charge that results in incarceration or a fine, let him do so in front of another judge or jury. Let the accused have the right to cross examine and call witnesses before being convicted of contempt of court and thrown in the slammer.

    gitarcarver (0e8c2b)

  194. The iCloud password has no relation to the iPhone passcode.

    The iphone passcode is like “1234”

    The iCloud password is on an iCloud account, like “theone@whithouse.gov” with a password of “abcd1234″

    The phone remembers the iCloud password and wifi logins, and if you take it to the appropriate place it will back itself up to the cloud SO LONG AS NO NUMBNUTZ has reset the iCloud password.

    It does not, however, have ANYTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the phone’s passcode, which remains “1234”

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  195. In short, this is just obfuscation on Apple’s part. It changes nothing.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  196. WarEagle–

    The government is not asking for this software, only for Apple to run it on this phone and allow the password to be determined. They can then put the stock iOS back on the phone and retuirn it to the government.

    Where is the risk?

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  197. *only for Apple to run it on this phone and allow the passCODE to be determined

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  198. “I see people on Twitter and elsewhere claiming that this is an intrusion on Apple’s rights because it is the government forcing Apple to work for it, and to create a product that does not exist. This seems like a good argument until you think about it for a second.”

    This IS a good argument; which you’d realize if you could stop sucking .gov balls long enough to think … even for a second.

    “When law enforcement has a phone company set up a pen register or trap and trace, people at the phone company have to expend labor to comply. When law enforcement obtains a search warrant for cell phone records, a custodian of records has to work to comply.

    When a Congressional committee, or a party seeking documents through FOIA, seeks Hillary’s emails, people have to work to comply. Are we saying they shouldn’t have to?”

    A) “WE” aren’t saying anything. YOU are saying that the government may force labor without recompence on demand. <—— see that at the end there? That's a period. As in, ….. PERIOD!
    Not only have you not justified those demands for unremunerated work (in your mind it is the citizenry, the plebes, the proles, the serfs who must justify their refusal); you've also not stated, suggested or implied that there is any distinction between government demanding unpaid work in the situations you describe, and government demanding unpaid work whenever it wants and for whatever reason it wants.

    B) Even so, the answer to your question, “Are we saying they shouldn’t have to?” is YES, YES, and NO.
    1. “When law enforcement has a phone company set up a pen register or trap and trace, people at the phone company have to expend labor to comply. … Are we saying they shouldn’t have to?”

    Yes. Without just compensation? Yes!

    2. “When law enforcement obtains a search warrant for cell phone records, a custodian of records has to work to comply. … Are we saying they shouldn’t have to?”

    Yes. Without just compensation? Yes. Yes! YES!!! It’s called the Fifth Amendment, Shitbag.

    Do you still have the unmitigated gall to call yourself a conservative (or however you’d describe your political ideology)? You should never in the future refer to yourself as anything but a Statist tip-kisser. Oh, and,

    3. “When a Congressional committee, or a party seeking documents through FOIA, seeks Hillary’s emails, people have to work to comply. Are we saying they shouldn’t have to?”

    NO!

    Hmmm, … wondering why “yes” to the first two, but “no” to the third?

    I just bet you are, retard.

    But it’s all moot, isn’t it. You can’t even pull your head out the surveillance state’s ass long enough to be able to distinguish between a principal giving orders to his agent, and the agent making demands of the principal:

    “If the State Department said it had to write a program to efficiently search for Hillary’s emails, I think we would all say: OK, write the program . . . and hurry up about it!”

    But why would Apple have to work to write a program if all the Feds are doing is “seeking to have Apple turn off an auto-erase function,…”?
    And, merely that “Apple disable a feature”?

    Even I wouldn’t say that a Federal case needs to be made for paying Apple if it’s something as simple as “turning off a function” or “disabling a feature”. I’m not hip to the technology involved; but that SOUNDS like something that could be done in less than a minute by any entry-level tech working a customer service switchboard. So why talk about writing a program or the work involved in writing it? I mean, if it’s an amount and type of work that’s in the normal course of everyday business; part of the everyday job functions of a low-level employee who’s paid to do exactly that kind of simple thing; and, it would require even more work just to compute the tiny amount of compensation the gov’t should provide (and it sure SOUNDS like all three from the way your article begins).

    Oh, and this program that the FBI desperately needs Apple’s help with? Since they’re so technically inept (BTW, why is the FBI suddenly everyone’s aged grandmother who can’t fathom the concept of a cell-phone, is frightened by a touch-screen, and keeps saying “In my day, you just picked up the phone an told the operator who to connect you to.”), surely they could never use or modify the program to be used on any other phone, could they? No one in any government agency could, … but Apple can, oh yes, .. the Apple-man Can!

    But, wait, … maybe it IS actually “work”. Maybe the FBI could find someone in government to do it. But the bureaucratic paperwork required wouldn’t allow it to even get started within the next decade (How ’bout them Keynesian multipliers, boys?! Ain’t they sump’n?!); and, besides, from the perspective of the FBI (and YOU, … fucknut) making Apple do the work won’t cost them (i.e., the Feds) anything. It’s free, you see. Just like our healthcare, only in reverse. And THAT is the important thing. That the government not be forced to pay for something that they can get for free by ordering someone NOT in government to do it. That our superiors (principals) not be inconvenienced by us mere serfs (agents).

    Or, did I get something backward there? Clearly, you’ll never figure it out, … assface.

    Go cry yourself to sleep in shame. Then quit. <—-there it is again

    Urbetters (a2a7b2)

  199. 193.Under what theory would the government be entitled to the entire source code?

    I am not a lawyer but I believe they are entitled (legally speaking) to whatever they need to get the information off the phone.

    James B. Shearer (0f56fb)

  200. Let’s take my box of horrors from #91, and say that Apple successfully resists the government’s terrible request. All these terrible things happen, and, independently there is some evidence that the SB killers knew about the GGB plot. Apple is sued by the bereaved, who suggest that if the iPhone had been opened all these things might have been prevented.

    In its defense, Apple asks the government for the iPhone in question so that it might open it up to see, but the government refuses, then says that it was wiped in a failed attempt to guess the passcode. “Wasn’t Muhammad’s birthday.”

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  201. Under what theory would the government be entitled to the entire source code?

    Did Apple copyright it? I know that “sovereign use” applies to patents, at least in theory. How about copyright?

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  202. Only for Apple to create something that doesn’t exist, run it on the phone …. You conveniently left that part out.

    JD (877a23)

  203. Look, a nontrivial part of my civil law practice involves issuing or responding to subpoenas of nonparty witnesses.

    Right now I’m handling a business fraud case in which we just had to send out almost 70 subpoenas to nonparty witnesses — mostly businesses (banks, accountants, oil companies, utilities) to try to reconstruct 20 years of essential records necessary for the winding down of a ranching limited partnership whose general partner allowed the business’ own records to be destroyed in a fire.

    Not a single one of these nonparty witnesses is enthusiastic about the time or expense involved in complying. Some of the expenses, my client will end up having to bear; others will be shifted onto the business. But by rule in Texas, as applied with the application of considerable discretion by the trial court, only certain kinds of compliance costs can be shifted, and some of those witnesses — for that’s what they are — will end up having to bear those costs. If the bank wants to have its lawyers review the records it’s turning over to us, for example, the bank has to pay its own lawyers.

    Trial judges have a ton of discretion in making determinations of reasonable bounds for enforcement of subpoenas, and it’s typically a cost-benefits analysis.

    But all this noise about, “We’d have to do something besides just step out of the cop’s way to comply with this subpoena, and that’s all you can insist that we do” — that’s just nonsense. And it’s offensive nonsense. I’m sure in about 10 minutes I could find you a dozen examples on PACER of cases in which Apple has popped other companies with nonparty subpoenas for records and data, and I’m pretty sure with another half hour I could find one where Apple’s asked that some company be held in contempt for dragging its feet just like Apple is now.

    This, I repeat, is a PR stunt that’s rousing up the spectacularly ill-informed rabble who are too paranoid to give law enforcement personnel any credit for trying to do their jobs in order to keep us safe. Our host’s original post more than adequately covered the legal and factual issues involved, and it makes no difference at all — none — to the legal analysis whether some county employee re-set a password he ought not to have reset.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  204. A lawsuit against Apple would rightly be laughed out of Court post haste.

    JD (877a23)

  205. Only for Apple to create something that doesn’t exist, run it on the phone …. You conveniently left that part out.

    Suppose it existed at Apple. Suppose they had a program for getting the passcode off of fired employee’s phones. Would this change your position at all?

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  206. (“Rabble” isn’t addressed to any of the commenters here. But some of you are ill-informed.)

    Beldar (fa637a)

  207. Beldar – they aren’t just asking for records and data.

    JD (877a23)

  208. Kevin – did Apple, or did they not assert that they do not have that.

    JD (877a23)

  209. If Henry’s dhs investigation hadn’t been shut down, if the chain of custody hadn’t been broken, maybe we’d give them the benefit of the doubt.

    narciso (732bc0)

  210. You are dodging the question. Their lawyers might be parsing words, or have gotten bad information, or it might not “exist” because no one has pushed the button today.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  211. maybe we’d give them the benefit of the doubt.

    unh hunh

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  212. 208 Suppose it existed at Apple. Suppose they had a program for getting the passcode off of fired employee’s phones. Would this change your position at all?

    I doubt they have this. Why bother? Phones are cheap.

    James B. Shearer (0f56fb)

  213. I doubt they have this. Why bother? Phones are cheap.

    They usually want the information off the phone. ESPECIALLY from fired workers. Who ESPECIALLY don’t want them to have it.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  214. But again the question is dodged.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  215. I’m dodging?!?! Apple states they don’t have it, that it does not exist, and that to comply, it would have to be created. But you know better.

    JD (877a23)

  216. And I said IF it did exist. Say if they had not deleted it on Monday or something. Would that change your position? Because you seem to be clinging to the slender reed of “they are having to do work at the government’s behest”. And you simply will not even answer the question, which shows me you realize just how weak your argument is.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  217. You are an idiot. I have no reason to assume your hypothetical. I don’t think they did so, because it makes no sense for them to have this code. Your position requires assuming things that don’t exist. Mine is simple. They say they don’t have it, and would have to create it from scratch to comply with the government demands. Yet I’m dodging. It is to laugh.

    JD (877a23)

  218. JD, of course they aren’t asking Apple for records and data. They’re asking for Apple for assistance that’s essential in order to be able to access records and data that are obviously pertinent and necessary for an on-going criminal investigation.

    It’s not like Apple is just some completely unrelated party picked from out of space, whom (to use someone else’s term here, Leviticus’ IIRC) the government has “conscripted.” This is the manufacturer, who has a unique relationship to this particular piece of physical evidence.

    Apple has the knowledge and ability to provide a means to unlock essential evidence. Like every entity (company, person) subject to the court’s jurisdiction, Apple’s obliged to comply with subpoenas and the orders ancillary to them, as made by the court.

    Why do you think Apple should be above the law?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  219. Here’s the thing. The government’s request seems well informed. They know what they want and they know about what effort it will take. They probably have expert advice. If Apple goes to the mattresses on this and there is a trial, the poor slobs from Apple who get dragged into court are going to have to tell the truth to well-briefed lawyers. They are not going to get the same kid gloves this DoJ gives the IRS. And Apple will look like it loves terrorists. In the end, schools will be dropping Apple products because parents won’t want their kids using terrorPads

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  220. Yet I’m dodging.

    Because you have to.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  221. Anyone want to bet Tim Cook is traveling abroad this week?

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  222. 217They usually want the information off the phone. ESPECIALLY from fired workers. Who ESPECIALLY don’t want them to have it.

    In most such cases neither party cares.

    James B. Shearer (0f56fb)

  223. They say they don’t have it, and would have to create it from scratch to comply with the government demands.

    They would have to write an OS from scratch? Now who is being silly.

    Any of the top, oh, 20 engineers in the iOS group could do this in a slow afternoon.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  224. Just as a note, IOS does support alphanumeric passcodes of custom length, so the number of tries required very well may be an extremely large number. The wording of the request made it sound like the phone in fact had an alphanumeric passcode, or at least they were requesting software that could bypass one.

    I do have a prediction though. I’m fairly certain that Patterico, Beldar, etc., are correct on the law, though I disagree with them completely on the ethics of the situation, so I suspect that:

    1. The writ requiring compulsory labor will be upheld, especially now that we’ve lost one of the SCOTUS judges likely to be suspicious of such an expansive ruling.

    2. The next generation of apple phones will move the implementation of these features into custom silicon, removing the ability for this to work. The encryption stuff is already there, so this would only be a minor change for them.

    Skip (83e9b7)

  225. Beldar – I don’t think they should be above the law. I think the law goes to far, and is an arse. I’m in the just because it might be legal doesn’t mean it’s right camp.

    JD (877a23)

  226. Kevin – I never said that or even implied it. You pulled yet another thing from your bunghole. Your hyperbole is extraordinary today.

    JD (877a23)

  227. “Third, as described by the government, the software in question would have a unique identifier so that it would only work with this single device.”

    This is nonsense. That it was said by an AUSA does not make it any less so.

    NickM (63e1a7)

  228. A 4-digit decimal number has 40,000 possibilities? Really?

    Why wouldn’t it be 10,000?

    Patterico (86c8ed) — 2/19/2016 @ 5:21 pM

    FWIW, my numbers are completely different.

    A 4-digit decimal number has 4! possibilities = 24 combinations.
    A 4-digit decimal number out of 26 choices = 26! / 4!22! = 14,950 combinations.

    Take the combination of the total number of possible keys: all the alphas, caps, numbers, special keys is 26 + 26 + 27 + 27 = 106 (by my count.)
    Divide by the combination of the number of keys used in the password: for an iOS 9, the minimum is 4 and the maximum is 6.

    A 4-digit password would yield: 106! / 4!102! = 4,967,690 combinations.
    A 5-digit password would yield: 106! / 5!101! =101,340,876 combinations.
    A 6-digit password would yield: 106! / 6!100! = 1,705,904,746 combinations.
    http://stattrek.com/online-calculator/combinations-permutations.aspx

    Using a brute force attack given two conditions: the iOS 9 allowed continuous electronic input of combinations, and 100,000 combinations could be tested every second:
    A 4-digit password would take about 50 seconds.
    A 5-digit password would take about 17 minutes.
    A 6-digit password would take about 5 hours.

    Pons Asinorum (49e2e8)

  229. I’m dodging?!?! Apple states they don’t have it, that it does not exist, and that to comply, it would have to be created. But you know better.

    JD (877a23) — 2/19/2016 @ 7:44 pm

    IMHO JD is correct, it is highly unlikely they would have such code: a) such a vulnerability would have no real purpose and would require expense to safeguard, b) cost to develop and test, c) marketing — does it make sense to say “Hey we can break into you machine anytime we want?”

    Pons Asinorum (49e2e8)

  230. I think in this discussion, Beldar, we are speaking different languages. You are debating the law, and I am discussing with is right or just, to me. Often times those two topics don’t intersect.

    JD (877a23)

  231. Yes, that the real stick the government has. They can seize the source code.

    Sure, it’s a trade secret and copyrighted and Apple can get a protective order that it will only be seen by the FBI’s computer experts while they design a program to defeat it only in that one phone … my price for that beautiful bridge over the Hudson River is $1 million and I’ll throw in that tunnel at half price ….

    nk (dbc370)

  232. 232FWIW, my numbers are completely different

    And completely wrong. You realize I hope that decimal refers to base 10 and that there are 10 digits base 10. So where are you getting:

    A 4-digit decimal number out of 26 choices …

    The correct answer is 10000=10*10*10*10 as there are 10 independent choices for each of the 4 positions.

    James B. Shearer (0f56fb)

  233. Pons, your factorials are not appropriate. The 4! would tell you how many ways you can organize 4 things, without repeating any one of them. So if the four items are [a,b,c,d], you have four ways to pick the first item. Next, with the first item already placed, you have 3 choices, then 2, and finally one is left. Number of arrangements: 4 * 3 * 2 * 1 = 24.

    But if given ten digits that can be placed in any of the four spots, with repetitions ok, eg. [1,1,1,2], you have ten choices for each spot, or 10 ^ 4 = 10,000.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  234. They say they don’t have it, and would have to create it from scratch to comply with the government demands.

    It seems far-fetched to imagine they have to create it “from scratch.” As I describe in the post, there are three features the government seeks. Take one of them for example: a line of code that says “data wiped after 10 tries.” How hard would it be to eliminate that line — or set the number at a billion?

    The government could probably write code themselves if Apple gave up the one thing the government can’t create itself: the security certificate necessary for the phone to recognize and accept the update. But rather than subpoena the security certificate, the government, in a nod to privacy concerns, is allowing Apple to do everything itself.

    And Tim Cook is, in my view, simply lying in his letter. I doubt he would dare repeat all that under oath.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  235. This suggests that Apple products, including iPhones can use a variety of passcodes:

    3.Enter a six-digit passcode. Or tap Passcode Options to switch to a four-digit numeric code, a custom numeric code, or a custom alphanumeric code.

    Sounds like this one used a four-digit numeric code but it might also have been alphanumeric.

    DRJ (15874d)

  236. Patterico – why would they create, and keep something that would damage their brand?

    JD (877a23)

  237. In a nod to privacy concerns … lol

    JD (877a23)

  238. Here’s the magistrate’s actual order. If you want to know what Apple has actually been ordered to do, read it. It’s short and very specific.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  239. Pons, your factorials are not appropriate.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe) — 2/19/2016 @ 9:07 pm

    Oh, thank you for your explanation Bob.

    So, if given, say 106 possible characters, a 4-digit password would have:

    106^4 possibilities?

    Pons Asinorum (d1bf19)

  240. JD,

    My understanding is that they routinely did what the government here requests, in the past, for years. Then, when their complicity in the warrantless NSA spying became public, they decided to change their branding to convince people they were all about the privacy.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  241. In a nod to privacy concerns … lol

    Would it be better for them to subpoena the security certificate?

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  242. And if after the NSA, they got rid of said code, how is that not reasonable. Lots of people were pissed at carriers back then.

    JD (877a23)

  243. Beldar,

    Yes, I had read that but not linked it. “The SIF [Software Image File] will be coded by Apple with a unique identifier of the phone so that the SIF would only load and execute on the SUBJECT DEVICE.”

    There is a lot of uninformed paranoia out there. Apple isn’t helping by lying.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  244. And if after the NSA, they got rid of said code, how is that not reasonable. Lots of people were pissed at carriers back then.

    It will be fascinating to see how Apple phrases their response in court paperwork. It won’t be under oath, but it will be statements made by an officer of the court.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  245. Patterico – obviously, no. But don’t try to sell me that they are doing this with pure motives.

    JD (877a23)

  246. By the way, this HUGE BOMBSHELL about how the government screwed everything up by changing the password ignores a few points:

    1. It wasn’t the FBI but an IT guy from San Bernardino County.

    2. He was almost certainly trying to help, by getting what information he could, as quickly as possible, in a fluid situation in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist mass murder.

    3. Apple pretends that an iCloud backup would have addressed the government’s needs, but it wouldn’t. The phone retains data that is not backed up in an iCloud backup.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  247. Oh, and this is the statutory basis for the magistrate’s power to issue the order compelling Apple’s cooperation, the All Writs Act. Some of the news organizations and commentators are making out like this is an obscure or inappropriate statute to rely upon. They’re showing magnificent ignorance, because while this statute is indeed a very old and extremely broad one, it’s used constantly by courts on a day-to-day basis. In pertinent part (which is subsection (a)), it reads, simply but powerfully:

    The Supreme Court and all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.

    And that’s what this is — an order “in aid” of — which is to say, facilitating and making meaningful and preventing from being meaningless and futile — the U.S. District Court’s jurisdiction to compel cooperation with law enforcement authorities who’ve established probable cause and otherwise met the requirements of the Fourth Amendment.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  248. Patterico – obviously, no. But don’t try to sell me that they are doing this with pure motives.

    I’m not sure who “they” is, but (not speaking for my office) I can assure you that I would LOVE to have the ability to get a search warrant for iPhones in murder cases. As long as it is done with a valid search warrant, no privacy interest is harmed, and the search for the truth is aided.

    I understand distrust of the federal government in the wake of the NSA revelations and Clapper’s lies. But most law enforcement is just trying to get the bad guys. I know this firsthand.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  249. How do you know they are lying?

    JD (877a23)

  250. I can’t tell you how helpful phone evidence and cell phone records are. I can think of one defendant, who I have reason to believe killed more than one person (I proved he killed one), who is locked up for good — in my opinion largely because I pushed to get cell phone downloads and records that the detective initially told me didn’t exist. But for that evidence, my one shaky witness would have had no corroboration, and other people would likely be dead now. It’s that important.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  251. Good link, Beldar.

    To someone like me who has no skills in programming, coding, etc., the excerpt quoted by Patterico at 247 sounds like something that would be easy to manipulate in future cases.

    DRJ (15874d)

  252. #140: njrob, you may have missed this, but a bakery that made wedding cakes featuring a Bride (f) and Groom (m) was asked to create a novel cake, (m + m) or (f + f) I can’t recall, (however, it wasn’t the remaining permutation, m + f) and they declined. After processing this through our legal system, it was decided that they did not have the option of not fulfilling this demand, and bankruptcy and sadness ensued. But society strode one step closer to progressive utopia.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe) — 2/19/2016 @ 4:47 pm

    Thank you for mentioning it and understanding why I am consistent in supporting the right to be forced by threat of a fascist state to slave myself to them because “it’s the law.”

    By Beldar and Patterico’s claim, we live in a post-constitutional society.

    NJRob (a07d2e)

  253. How do you know they are lying?

    From everything I know and have read, lines like this are not true:

    In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.

    The code they write can absolutely be limited to a single phone, based on every credible source I have seen. Apple alone has the information necessary to allow the code to be used on any device. Read the judge’s language: “The SIF [Software Image File] will be coded by Apple with a unique identifier of the phone so that the SIF would only load and execute on the SUBJECT DEVICE.” Yet Cook pretends that the code would create a “back door” that could lead to any device being breached. I do not believe he would say that under oath, and when Apple files its papers I will be on guard for qualifiers, vague language, and handwaving that masks how deceptive this claim is.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  254. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution provides “… 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 to be seized.”

    DRJ (15874d)

  255. Pons Asinorum #242

    Uh, no.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  256. To someone like me who has no skills in programming, coding, etc., the excerpt quoted by Patterico at 247 sounds like something that would be easy to manipulate in future cases.

    Again: to those who say this is a slippery slope that could lead to dozens or hundreds of phones being examined pursuant to lawful search warrants: I say that “concern” is quite valid, and I hope that result happens. I want that ability. It is important. I should have it.

    To those who say this will lead to the government being able to brute force every iPhone in the U.S., I say: bull. You’re falling for Apple’s marketing and deceptive bluster.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  257. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution provides “… 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 to be seized.”

    Indeed.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  258. How hard would it be to eliminate that line — or set the number at a billion?

    As I have said repeatedly, I will bet my house that it is a parameter currently set to 10. They coded it and set it to some small number for testing, then set it to some big number for never happening while they were testing other stuff, then waited until the lawyers and marketers and big cheeses got their act together and decided on “10” and plugged that in. But it could be changed to 150 million while making coffee.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  259. I think I’ll save everyone some time. The magic code is 0072.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  260. Patrick, re your doubt that Tim Cook (#238) “would dare repeat all that under oath”: So one would think.

    But remember: His predecessor, the sainted Steve Jobs, bragged on the record to his biographer about the deliberately anti-competitive and anti-consumer effect of Apple’s e-book price-fixing conspiracy with book publishers:

    Amazon screwed it up. It paid the wholesale price for some books, but started selling them below cost at $9.99. The publishers hated that -– they thought it would trash their ability to sell hardcover books at $28. So before Apple even got on the scene, some booksellers were starting to withhold books from Amazon. So we told the publishers, “We’ll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway.” But we also asked for a guarantee that if anybody else is selling the books cheaper than we are, then we can sell them at the lower price too. So they went to Amazon and said, “You’re going to sign an agency contract or we’re not going to give you the books.”

    U.S. District Judge Denise Cote found this admission incredibly damning, along with many other public statements and boasts by Jobs. United States v. Apple, Inc., No. 12 Civ. 2826 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, at p. 104. The Second Circuit affirmed this ruling last summer, but last time I checked, Apple’s still trying to get certiorari. They may have very high-priced lawyers, but either those lawyers are giving them terrible legal advice or Apple is ignoring it. I’m betting it’s mostly the latter.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  261. Kevin M,

    Exactly. I can’t wait to see how Apple makes altering that line of code sound like a task comparable to cleaning the Augean stables.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  262. Cruz Supporter sez:

    R.I.P. Nelle Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird

    All of a sudden, I got a very COLD feeling as I developed a suspicion as to who Cruz Supporter might be!

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  263. 2. He was almost certainly trying to help, by getting what information he could, as quickly as possible, in a fluid situation in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist mass murder.

    As anyone who has used an Apple device will attest, after about two errors with an iCloud password, the system offers to reset everything as if this is some kind of helpful effort on Apple’s part when in fact it means you have to change the password on every idevice associated with the account.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  264. All of a sudden, I got a very COLD feeling as I developed a suspicion as to who Cruz Supporter might be!

    I got that yesterday, but this ices it.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  265. BobStewartatHome:

    263.I think I’ll save everyone some time. The magic code is 0072.

    That’s funny, Bob.

    Wouldn’t it ironic if the passcode was written down somewhere in the terrorists’ apartment, and an enterprising journalist got it after the landlord let them in for a tour?

    DRJ (15874d)

  266. The Sherman Section 1 price-fixing antitrust conspiracy case against Apple, by the way, was a joint effort not only of the DoJ, but of “forty-nine states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Territories and Possessions the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.” That’s about as close to a total consensus of law enforcement authorities as it’s possible to get in America. The Texas and Connecticut AGs pulled the leading oar on behalf of the States, I’m proud to say. Thank you, then-AG now-Gov. Greg Abbott.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  267. I have enough libertarian in me, Beldar, that I can’t get excited about antitrust.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  268. Which leads me to another trial lawyer question related to libertarian attitudes, Beldar. It will take a second for me to type, but I would love your input on it.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  269. libertarians they drive so far they only find static on the RADIO-O-O-O-O

    happyfeet (831175)

  270. “To someone like me who has no skills in programming, coding, etc., the excerpt quoted by Patterico at 247 sounds like something that would be easy to manipulate in future cases.”

    If you have the roadmap for one, how hard would it be to do the next? Change the unique identifier?

    JD (877a23)

  271. cruz supporter.- elephant stone?

    mg (31009b)

  272. Again: to those who say this is a slippery slope that could lead to dozens or hundreds of phones being examined pursuant to lawful search warrants: I say that “concern” is quite valid, and I hope that result happens. I want that ability. It is important. I should have it.

    To those who say this will lead to the government being able to brute force every iPhone in the U.S., I say: bull. You’re falling for Apple’s marketing and deceptive bluster.

    Patterico (86c8ed) — 2/19/2016 @ 9:45 pm

    It doesn’t matter what you, in your official position, want. I want many things. I cannot force others to give them to me. Because you are a government official does not give you the right to take from others and force them into involuntary servitude. How can you not understand that?

    Is Apple playing the political game? So what. They’ve done it for years in order to get as large as they are.

    Clearly you have no concern about an omnipotent state forcing its will upon an unwilling populace. You desire subjects, not citizens in order to make your job easier. You do not think beyond your own desires into how that power will be used by the worst among us.

    Have you forgotten the constant IRS harassment and abuse of conservatives that still goes on to this day and where no one in government was punished? Have you forgotten the VA deaths where the fired individuals were “ruled by black robed dictators” that the firing was illegal and rehired? Have you forgotten those murdered by a feckless Secretary of State and evil President in Benghazi, Fast and Furious and on and on?

    I cannot believe you.

    NJRob (a07d2e)

  273. If you have the roadmap for one, how hard would it be to do the next? Change the unique identifier?

    Which only Apple has.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  274. cruz supporter.- elephant stone?

    No, you missed the rather unsubtle hint dropped by Kevin M. Not that mine was subtle.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  275. #243: Pons, if you call the entities you are placing in the four spots “characters”, then yes. But if you call them digits, then I think we’re back to the set of [0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9], and then there are just 10 ^ 4.

    Of course these characters, whether numeric, alphabetical (lower and UPPER case), or special symbols are all represented internally by (binary) numbers, but that doesn’t change the realm of what combinations you can construct.

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  276. So that’s why I can’t get the ebook of a translation I want of The Master and Margarita even though I know it exists?

    nk (dbc370)

  277. Weren’t writs of assistance one of the abuses by the Crown that sparked the Revolution? 😉

    nk (dbc370)

  278. I hope Beldar indicates that he is stlll around, because I am in the middle of typing my giant long comment about libertarianism and trial lawyering, and I’m not sure I want to finish it and publish it unless I can get the satisfaction of a relatively immediate reaction. But I realize I am asking a lot, what with it being tomorrow already in Houston.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  279. We Texans go to bed with the cows and get up with the chickens, so don’t ask us to stay up past Midnight.

    DRJ (15874d)

  280. COLD hmmmm ICY!!!

    BobStewartatHome (a52abe)

  281. So here is the trial lawyer question, Beldar — or, more accurately, a declaration on my part, which I am curious to see whether you agree with. (I have this weird feeling that I may have asked you this before. If I have, ignore me.)

    As you are no doubt aware, the famous Batson v. Kentucky case holds that a prosecutor cannot use a peremptory challenge to excuse a juror based on race. As you would expect, I scrupulously adhere to that principle — but I also do not shy away from exercising proper, race-neutral challenges out of fear that the defense will bring a Batson (in California we call it a “Wheeler”) motion.

    In nearly 20 years of being a trial lawyer, I have noticed that defense lawyers do not always exercise the same level of scruples — and very often will dismiss jurors based on race alone. Typically, these challenges will be exercised against white and/or Asian jurors.

    Since Georgia v. McCollum in 1992, a case decided (shortly) before I became a lawyer, the Batson analysis has applied to criminal defense attorneys. Meaning that I am legally entitled to bring a Batson (Wheeler) motion against a defense attorney.

    Here’s where the libertarianism kicks in.

    Let me briefly digress to remind readers of the familiar libertarian case against anti-discrimination laws in employment. The theory is, if you reject equally or better qualified minority workers for reasons of racism, your competitors will snap them up, and eat your lunch. The theory is that competition renders unnecessary the need for such laws. End digression.

    So, back to Batson motions. If I bring a Batson motion against a defense attorney, the only way for me to win that motion is to prove to the judge that the defense attorney excused someone that he really shouldn’t have, because that juror was a good defense juror. If I can show that jurors A, B, C, and D were fantastic jurors for the defense, but the defense attorney is getting rid of them because they are all white or Asian, and the defense attorney is a racist, then I can win a Batson motion, and perhaps get the jury panel excused, or have those jurors seated who were improperly excused.

    And what I have generally concluded is this: if a defense attorney is excusing jurors that would be good for him, why in the world would I complain about that? To me, this comes under the category of “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

    It’s an attitude that springs from my basically libertarian mindset. As a trial lawyer, does it make sense to you?

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  282. COLD hmmmm ICY!!!

    Either that, or Cruz Supporter has chosen to announce deaths in bold type starting with R.I.P. in comments.

    Could be a coincidence — or imitation being the highest form of flattery, I suppose.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  283. I’m pretty sure DRJ has done her share of trials too, and I would be interested in her reaction as well.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  284. Although it is after midnight for her too…

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  285. 271.I have enough libertarian in me, Beldar, that I can’t get excited about antitrust

    So you think it is ok for Apple to agree with other tech companies like Google not to hire each other’s employees? I think it is properly illegal.

    James B. Shearer (0f56fb)

  286. I’m fine with their agreeing to just about anything. Glad we can once again disagree.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  287. Most of my trials were when I was a young attorney, before Batson. (Boy, does that date me.) Plus, where I live, the differences that mattered in jury selection had to do with education and occupation, not race.

    But I see your point and it makes sense to me.

    DRJ (15874d)

  288. 286 … As a trial lawyer, does it make sense to you?

    I am not a trial lawyer but it makes no sense to me. You are assuming race is not predictive after adjusting for questions you are allowed to ask. It is my understanding that this is not the case.

    James B. Shearer (0f56fb)

  289. Patterico is saying that just because the rule allows him to challenge the defense when it avoids certain jurors, why would he want to challenge them since — under the rule — the jurors are people who favor the defense? Why would a prosecutor want to keep a pro-defense juror?

    DRJ (15874d)

  290. 286So, back to Batson motions. If I bring a Batson motion against a defense attorney, the only way for me to win that motion is to prove to the judge that the defense attorney excused someone that he really shouldn’t have, because that juror was a good defense juror. …

    Again I am not a lawyer but I thought the rule was that if questioned the defense lawyer would have to give an allowed reason for his challenge and if you can show that reason is a pretext (for example he accepted black jurors with the same purported problem or worse) then you win.

    James B. Shearer (0f56fb)

  291. We have discussed Batson stuff before, both in comments we’ve exchanged here on your posts and in comments we’ve exchanged on mine, and I haven’t looked but I’d bet DRJ was involved in those conversations. Here’s one such conversation; my critique of Justice Souter’s decision in Miller-el included some civil trial juror selection anecdotes that y’all seemed to find amusing. (It also serves as a stark reminder of how dreadful a SCOTUS appointment he was, and how stupid the Court’s Batson analyses have become.

    Your hypothetical exposes what a hall of mirrors the whole thing is, as a legal exercise in mind-reading conducted at multiple removes, years later.

    Your proposition — “if a defense attorney is excusing jurors that would be good for him, why in the world would I complain about that?” — makes sense to me, and I agree with it. But I confess that I can’t really imagine myself applying it.

    It may be that I just haven’t had a lot of cases with racially charged issues in them, and of the few I’ve had, even fewer of those went to trial. But pretty much all the civil trial lawyers that I’ve bumped into, regardless of their regular clientele (i.e., plaintiff’s PI lawyers, insurance defense lawyers, business contract and tort litigators, etc.), are mostly terrified of what we feel to be our vulnerability to screwing something up that we couldn’t know how to predict or avoid — because the whole system depends on guesswork about guesswork. Confronted with that sort of meta-level thinking, I tend to let my eyes glaze over while I’m praying to myself that no one will make any objections or raise any Batson issues. And no one ever has made a Batson challenge in any of my civil jury trials, at least so far.

    FWIW, 10 years later, I feel more strongly than I did then that the most obvious and blatant stereotypes (including race, class, education, and income stereotypes) that trial lawyers tend to apply during jury selection are increasingly unreliable. Those used to be useful shortcuts, but I think one has to be paying attention to more subtle clues than those macroscopic data provide.

    And I’m still incredibly skeptical about jury consultants and their benefits. Since I wrote that post, I’ve had a very long jury trial in which the other side hired one of the most famous and expensive jury consultants in the country, while I was, as almost always, flying by the seat of my pants and by instinct. One juror was an obvious opinion-leader, but this jury consultant and I differed diametrically about which way he was likely to swing, so we both wanted him on the jury.

    The juror was seated, then, and he did indeed turn out to be the foreman. He swung the way I had expected, so this made me feel pretty good about how my pants seats compare to the paid “experts.” Of course, I’d have felt even better if he’d had more than one other juror whom he was successful in influencing: the foreman and that one other juror were the only ones who went my client’s way in a 10/2 verdict. Notwithstanding that, I don’t think the jury consultant had much impact on either their victory or my loss — and I’m certain that no one, including those jurors themselves, could ever possibly know for sure if or how it did!

    Trial lawyering in general, and jury selection in particular, has a necessary component of art and magic that can’t be boiled out of it, but Batson damn sure tries.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  292. Yes, you “win” — but if he is excusing jurors on a pretext, when he should be excusing jurors that are bad for him, you’re already winning.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  293. As for antitrust law, there’s not much of it left that’s not subject to “rule of reason” analysis. But unless and until some very old SCOTUS precedents get overruled, Sherman section 1 price-fixing is still per se illegal. Whether you think that’s a good thing or not, no lawyer ought to be letting a client think he can conspire to fix prices with impunity, or even with a low degree of risk.

    I’ve been part of legal teams that have given antitrust advice to clients who were structuring huge business deals; you just can’t let your people go there, and you certainly can’t let them put their conspiracies in writing and brag about them at press conferences (which, again, Jobs did). That’s bad lawyering — or it’s a client who’s ignoring its lawyers, which, again, I think is the more likely explanation.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  294. 297Yes, you “win” — but if he is excusing jurors on a pretext, when he should be excusing jurors that are bad for him, you’re already winning.

    He is excusing jurors that are bad for him (in a probabilistic sense). He knows this because they are white and in certain types of cases white jurors are more likely to side with the prosecution. But he can’t say he is excusing them because they are white so he has to come up with a pretext.

    James B. Shearer (0f56fb)

  295. Now that Beldar and DRJ have spoken. A prosecutor’s duty is different from a defense attorney’s (but I won’t presume to tell you yours, Patterico). The duty to exercise independent judgment on behalf of the client, in my view, also excludes considerations of public policy, the interests of justice, jurisprudential philosophy, or whether 10,000 children will die of starvation in Biafra. It must only be within the bounds of the law. For a private attorney. So where I should be constrained from dismissing a juror for an improper reason, any reason to call out my opponent for it would be only if it would help my client.

    nk (dbc370)

  296. In general, do the lawyers here find it harder to predict what a female juror would do or a male juror?

    DRJ (15874d)

  297. a female juror will drive so far til she only finds static on the RADIO-O-O-O-O

    happyfeet (831175)

  298. I’m sorry, DRJ, I could not possibly comment.

    But here’s an interesting Texas case — The Affluenza Kid who got juvenile probation for killing four people while driving drunk. He then violated his probation, which made him eligible for ten years in prison past his 19th birthday if he had remained in the juvenile system. However, the prosecutor moved to have his case transferred to the adult system where he is liable to … eight years of adult probation past his 19th birthday. “sarc”The defense attorney did not object to the transfer. “sarc”

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/affluenza-teen-ethan-couch-to-be-transferred-to-adult-system/

    nk (dbc370)

  299. #279: Yes BobStewartatHome, that is exactly what I am after, thank you.

    #259: Kevin M, if this link from DRJ is accurate, then it appears that passcodes can use an alphanumeric set (which typically includes special characters, in my experience.) This means:

    Numeric: 10
    Alpha Upper Case: 26
    Alpha Lower Case: 26
    Special Characters: 44 (granted, some of these may not be legal for use with a passcode)

    All of which renders a “universe” of 106 characters that can be used for each position on a passcode. For example, a 4-postion passcode would have 106^4 possible combinations.

    Thanks to the intelligent and clear explanation from BobStewartatHome, the mathematical procedure is correct. The “universe” of characters available for use is probably not exact, but the larger point is that the number of combinations with a 4-position passcode is probably much larger that 10,000 combinations when using an iOS 9.

    And what’s the point of all of this? Just for fun.

    Pons Asinorum (49e2e8)

  300. This is the feds we’re talking about. How many feds were disciplined for the massacre at Waco?
    Point is, they’ll do what they want to do and no amount of law and law-ing is going to stop
    them.
    So, while there may be useful arguments about Apple doing as the government wishes, you’d have to be a fool to presume the government’s promise not to abuse the one-time-pinky-swear thing about not abusing it.

    Richard Aubrey (472a6f)

  301. “How do you know they are lying?”

    JD (877a23) — 2/19/2016 @ 9:35 pm

    Because their lips are moving.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  302. the circumstance of this particular case, unlike the 70 other instances, are what warrant scrutiny,

    narciso (732bc0)

  303. I’m thinking that the software already exists at Apple, in spite of their claims to the contrary.

    Given the “in league” nature of Apple, Google, Facebook, et al, with the current White House, I think this is more security theater than anything. And an attempt to boost lagging Apple sales because “security”.

    A “false flag” in a sense…to give Apple users the belief that the government can’t break into their iPhones easily.

    Chances are good, since the bad guy broke and smashed the phones he owned, that there is no data to retrieve off of his work phone…especially since it was his work phone and could be taken at any time by the county for whatever reason…upgrade, etc. Or just a ploy to waste FBI time trying to crack it.

    There are plenty of records of where calls/SMS/data/etc. of this phone are stored. That data would be important, not necessarily anything further on the phone itself. Maybe, but unlikely.

    Could the phone be hacked? Sure. I can think of a simple way: Copy the memory of it to an image. Run a “virtual iPhone” from a copy of that image and bang on it 5 times. Repeat with multiple virtual iPhones until you have tested all the PINS. The phone itself is encrypted with 128 bit AES, though the keychain is 256 bit AES. That’s enough info to know how to attack it as well. And of course, the whole “years” problem is avoided since the government has serious computing resources to create thousands of iPhone VMs running simultaneously across who knows how many servers.

    Not necessarily easy or cheap, but it would be effective. And would illustrate the whole failure of Apple security theater.

    I know…somewhat “conspiracy theory” of me, when I’m not usually in that crowd.

    DaProf (e822f2)

  304. According to ABC News,: “The Justice Department acknowledged in its court filing that the password of Syed Farook’s iCloud account had been reset. The filing states, “the owner [San Bernardino County Department of Public Health], in an attempt to gain access to some information in the hours after the attack, was able to reset the password remotely, but that had the effect of eliminating the possibility of an auto-backup.”

    So what the gov’t is now asking Apple to do is to undo the screwup that a gov’t official made. To me, not only is that unreasonable, it is utterly laughable.

    TopazWulf (01ceb0)

  305. R.I.P. Umberto Eco

    nk (dbc370)

  306. Worth a read, unless this is already old news… http://tonylimaassociates.com/2016/02/apple-vs-fbi/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  307. nk 303,

    I completely agree that the job of defense counsel is to put his client’s interests first. I don’t like the zealous representation standard but it’s the rule.

    I can’t believe the Tarrant County officials are being merciful with the affluenza teen, and it sounds like his attorney is more resigned to the decision than pleased with it. This Breitbart report says they had to keep the original sentence but they wanted the punishment for the charge of fleeing the country to be served in adult prison, not the juvenile system. In addition, it also says adult probation has stricter terms and will yield longer punishment if he violates.

    DRJ (15874d)

  308. That comment wasn’t clear. The client comes first, and should. That would be true even if we didn’t have the zealous representation standard, which I think is a poor rule.

    DRJ (15874d)

  309. More on zealous advocacy, for those who are interested.

    DRJ (15874d)

  310. The other difference is preserving objections for appeal. What makes you so sure you will win? It’s less of a concern for prosecutors who seldom can appeal a jury verdict, but making a proper record of appealable errors is part and parcel of criminal defense.

    nk (dbc370)

  311. Very good point.

    DRJ (15874d)

  312. DRJ (15874d) — 2/20/2016 @ 8:15 am

    Thank you for that link, DRJ

    felipe (56556d)

  313. Thanks for reading it! It’s a pet peeve of mine, felipe. It won’t change in my lifetime but it makes me feel better to mention it. My other pet peeve is no-fault divorce, something that also won’t change. I sure know how to pick the losing side of every argument, don’t I?

    DRJ (15874d)

  314. LOL, I hear you.

    felipe (56556d)

  315. The more I think about what Apple is doing, the more I think this is primarily about PR and making consumers think Apple care about protecting their privacy. I don’t think Apple cares any more or less than any company, I.e., they care a little because it’s good for business but they won’t bet the company on it.

    So that makes the conspiracy theorist on me with Nader: What is Apple hiding not? Has it already invented a back door? Probably, so the real question is “Who already has the back door and when did they get it?”

    DRJ (15874d)

  316. Heh. It makes me wonder, not Nader. But it kind of fits, doesn’t it?

    DRJ (15874d)

  317. I’ve been in the industry for twenty-two years, and I have *never* encountered production code which was as simple as I thought it should be.

    I agree there’s a simple way to write this – basically a simple switch that enables the feature or not.

    However, I can imagine that it might deliberately have been written in a more difficult fashion, so as to make it harder for a malware injection to have this effect.

    And even if it’s that simple, what you’re replacing the switch with would have to be something like: if [phone is the phone we care about] disable the switch … which is more complex, because then you have to have code that answers the question “is this phone the phone we care about?”.

    You’d want to test that. Which means you go through at least these testing steps:

    (a) if we turn on the disable-it-if-its-what-we-care-about feature on our test phone, does it disable?

    (b) if we turn on the disable-it-if-its-what-we-care-about feature on some other phone, does it correctly fail to disable?

    (c) if we then switch the “what phone do we care about” logic to use the identifiers of the *real* phone, does it correctly fail to disable the *test* phone?

    All of this assumes that it’s easy at the time of the test to get information which uniquely identifies the device. For that I have no idea. If I were designing the system, the code running before login would not have access to that kind of information, because it’s *way more secure* if the code running before login doesn’t have access to that information. BUT that kind of multi-state access restriction may be too difficult to implement.

    In any event, I would bet money that the guy tasked with *writing* this special software doesn’t know either, so he has to spend time finding out.

    aphrael (3f0569)

  318. DaProf: how do you plan on copying the “memory” off of the phone?

    [a] you probably can’t access it via wireless data.

    [b] you MIGHT be able to access it by plugging it in to a USB port; that should give you access to anything on the HDD if you have proper tools.

    But: is the HDD encrypted?

    [c] i’m not aware of consumer-grade tools that would let you image the HDD in a way that an emulator would see as being the same thing. Apple may or may not have it – it would seem like it would be a useful thing to have in terms of automated testing, AND that doesn’t mean they’ve done it.

    [d] I suppose you could physically remove the HDD and place it in another phone, but that’s not going to get you what you want, since it would still have the password-wipe feature; you need clones, basically.

    aphrael (3f0569)

  319. Kevin M:

    > Certain things about it can be assumed — like it is highly structured, modular and well-documented

    You’re way more optimistic about professional programmers than I am. My experience is these are ideals which are aspired to but rarely actually achieved.

    aphrael (3f0569)

  320. Saying this is technologically difficult seems like a feature, not a bug, if you’re Apple. Doesn’t Apple want people to think its phone is 1) very complex and secure, and 2) Apple can solve the technology issues but only Apple can solve them? Whether any of that is true isn’t the point. It’s what Apple wants the average consumer to believe.

    DRJ (15874d)

  321. Those a very good points aphreal, especially when you consider that the delibeta way they wrote the code to be “virus resistant” is more likely to be a highly guarded (even from their own people) “trade secret” than formal (to which many employees are party to/or familiar with)”intellectual property.”

    This taken with DRJ’s perception that big-picture PR, big-picture govmnt realities are also in play, we might cut Tim Cook a little slack for the plate-tectonic pressures being exerted on him. A few lies (ill or well advised) to buy enough time to survive to make the next call, might indicate that he is flying by the seat of his pants.

    felipe (56556d)

  322. deliberate, doggonitt!

    felipe (56556d)

  323. Good synthesis, felipe. I don’t know what the truth is but we may find out more if this is resolved in court instead of settled.

    DRJ (15874d)

  324. JD,

    My understanding is that they routinely did what the government here requests, in the past, for years. Then, when their complicity in the warrantless NSA spying became public, they decided to change their branding to convince people they were all about the privacy.

    Patterico (86c8ed) — 2/19/2016 @ 9:25 pm

    Is the warrantless NSA spying the same thing as rewriting code to enable a hacking algorithm to break a passcode? I thought the warrantless NSA spying had to do with collecting meta data en masse.

    Pons Asinorum (49e2e8)

  325. #322: Aphrael, yes! Could not agree more with your comment.

    There is also another point, the interface. Say the FBI has its request granted and can try billions of passcode combinations without worry. They would still need an electronic means to input those combinations because to do so manually would not prove practical, given the millions of combinations possible.

    Coding for such an interface would most certainly prove difficult, due to the fact that the entire production OS was likely designed to prevent precisely that — an electronic means of trying passcodes. I am not an expert, but it would seem to me that might prove even more daunting to the software engineer who is given that assignment.

    Pons Asinorum (49e2e8)

  326. I am really shocked that there is this much support for the FBIs position. People are not understanding the long term implications here. This is a long 20 year battle between tech and govnement about encryption. The government has always wanted back doors, and used “terrorism” as the excuse. Now they found a case where they can force the issue, and people are being fooled into supporting them.

    It doesn’t matter whether Apple can do it or has done it (though it’s worse if they are being enslaved to do it). It’s about opening a hole that can be exploited by our government, other governments, criminals, and terrorists. If you are against terrorism, you should be for Apples side. The FBIs argument is based on a fairy tale that it’s only for one phone and only for the good guys, when technically it is not. If you want to allow ISIS or China to be able to hack phones, or allow our govnement to hack phones in the same way the IRS targeted conservatives or worse the way Wisconsin procecutors targeted conservatives, then support the FBI.

    Oh and:

    And JD, I’m just mystified: You don’t want to “make their jobs easier” when it’s FBI agents investigating a terrorism ring?

    That way lies anarchy, my friend.

    Beldar (fa637a) — 2/19/2016 @ 3:48 pm

    Well getting rid of the Fourth Amendment, and a couple others will make it easier to investigate terrorism, so should we do that? That’ presumes another fairy tale that the government will only use it for good, and not to start investigating conservatives as “terrorists”.

    The way toward anarchy is throwing out our civil rights protections because “terrorism”.

    Patrick Henry, the 2nd (ddead1)

  327. Oh and for those saying this is an Apple PR stunt, that makes no sense. Why? Because Apple requested this be done secretly, and the FBI made it public against their wishes. So it’s the FBI that’s doing the PR stunt, to get people to support them because “terrorism”.

    Patrick Henry, the 2nd (ddead1)

  328. @ Patrick Henry: If the issues were the ones you’ve been persuaded that they are, you might have a point.

    They aren’t; so you don’t. This really is about one particular phone. There’s no great technological genie that’s about to be created and let out of a bottle. Phone manufacturers already can push operating system updates if they want to, the technology isn’t revolutionary or hard (unless you’re operating on a 1982 frame of reference). Using that to disable the attempt-limiting routines likewise doesn’t involve any spectacular breakthroughs that can be misused in the future to reduce privacy for the rest of us.

    You’ve been fooled by Apple’s PR campaign, friend.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  329. @ DRJ: We agree on no-fault divorce, a well-intentioned fix to a legitimate problem that has created massive, crippling systematic consequences, of which my own family history is a salient data point. And that’s all I want to say about that here.

    Re “zealous representation,” I’d never use that phrase without its balancing completion, “within the bounds of the law.” I interpret “the law” to include the canons of ethics. My standard-form engagement letter includes this paragraph:

    Texas Lawyer’s Creed: I endorse, and try to follow, the principles set forth in the Texas Lawyer’s Creed as adopted by the Supreme Court of Texas and published at:
    http://txbf.org/texas-lawyers-creed/

    I strongly recommend that you review the contents of the Creed before engaging me. Pay particular attention to Part II regarding Lawyer to Client relations, which describes legal and ethical obligations that may require me to refuse some sorts of instructions. (For example, I won’t “pursue conduct which is intended primarily to harass or drain the financial resources of [an] opposing party,” or “pursue any course of action which is without merit” in my judgment.) Although I formalize these disclosures at the beginning of every new representation, I do not anticipate any disagreement with you over these principles — else I would not be offering to represent you at all.

    And I go over this orally with every single new client.

    Re jurors: If the case will bear the freight, I like to have other people helping me observe potential jurors in the courtroom. Having at least one nonlawyer and at least one woman in that observation group means they’ll pick up on things I’ve missed. I don’t know if women or men jurors are easier for me to read; it would be hard to generalize. But there are differences. Vive la différence, in law as elsewhere!

    Beldar (fa637a)

  330. I sure know how to pick the losing side of every argument, don’t I?
    DRJ (15874d) — 2/20/2016 @ 8:49 am

    The arguments that win in the short run are not the same ones that win in the long run,
    we just don’t see things in the right perspective.

    If forests depended on me planting them….

    MD in Philly (at the moment not in Philly) (deca84)

  331. (For example, I won’t “pursue conduct which is intended primarily to harass or drain the financial resources of [an] opposing party,” or “pursue any course of action which is without merit” in my judgment.)

    Is that in any states other than Texas? What is the burden of proof and any mechanism for enforcement?

    I could name names in PA…, and would do so gladly and with great eagerness…

    MD in Philly (at the moment not in Philly) (deca84)

  332. #179 : “…you’re going to root for the terrorists? … ”

    Beldar, shame on you.

    Perhaps because I just watched “A Man for All Seasons” a couple nights ago, this is fresh in my mind:

    William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

    Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

    William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

    Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

    = = = = = = = = =

    The question is NOT “Is the threat of terrorism so great as to allow the Government to override safeguards to privacy rights”, it is “WHY on earth would you let Great-And-Powerful Government override God-given rights in ANY case, KNOWING the nature of Government and of Governmental Power?”

    See the Security -vs -Liberty quote above.

    Reflect on the “But you knew I was a snake before you picked me up” quote.

    To repeat my earlier statement, I fear my government more than I fear terrorists. ESPECIALLY because “The Law” works from ESTABLISHED PRECEDENT rather than referring to the clear original intent of the Constitution and (anymore) refuses to acknowledge “the law of Nature’s God”. In other words, First Principles no longer apply. Whatever mockery-of-reason some individual shyster can torture plain-words-of-law into being accepted as, becomes the next “bedrock” upon which the succeeding torture-of-law will be established.

    We’ve spent the last 7 years (actually much longer, but…) setting TERRIBLE precedents in regard to allowing the Three Branches to exceed their Constitutionally-defined limitations (and to NOT perform their required duties). Justice Roberts declared a “penalty” a “tax”, and NOW IT’S LAW. So, by precedent, SCOTUS can “rewrite law” in the NEXT hard case, because it’s established that their function is to justify existing law. This President pushes beyond The Law on a weekly basis (if not oftener), and hardly suffers a reprimand. Precedent established. The Houses of Congress? The Senate is BY CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT supposed to establish a budget each year. When was the last budget? Meh, who cares? We’ll just have the House of Reps give up control of the purse strings and approve CR’s and it’ll all be good. Precedent established again.

    You’re worried about TERRORISTS? I’m worried that The Law has been “all knocked flat”, and NONE of us will find protection in Law for our so-called God-Given Rights.

    A_Nonny_Mouse (6e3b07)

  333. I strongly doubt that Apple has the corporate purity it currently lays claim to.
    Meaning that Apple likely has always built a way to someday get into your data. Corporations are about $$$ and that data is worth way more $$$ than your privacy is.

    steveg (fed1c9)

  334. I believe there is reason to suspect the government motives in this instance. Why insist on Apple providing a software solution when there is a hardware work around? Let me explain:
    1. Law enforcement (FBI, DOJ, etc) have been trying for a while now to force Apple, and other Tech companies to include backdoor entry for any device they produce. The Tech companies have supposedly refused (since Snowden / NSA revelations)

    2. FBI has had the phone for TWO months. Surely within the first 24 to 48 hours they tried the most common passwords (1234, 1111, etc) and probably used 7 of 10 tries, and then found out that the password was remotely reset (Which means shouldn’t they know what the new password is?? When I got locked out, the techs told me the temp password so I could go in and reset to my own.) Now the FBI is stuck with other possible terrorists out there with imminent attacks possible any day. So they spend a day or two discussing their options and then, because they have none, they ask Apple to open a backdoor. Apple refuses and negotiations go on for a week at most (remember – more terrorist attacks are coming any day now). So now they play hardball and go to court. Therefore this whole situation should have played out 6 or 7 weeks ago. Why didn’t it?
    3. Let me say that I am NOT a techie. When I went to college we used slide rules in class, the computer was in a clean room that filled the entire basement of a very large building and FORTRAN was cutting edge. My son however built his first computer at 13 from salvaged parts from computers his uncle was throwing away. He says that he would think that you could simply remove the microprocessor from the phone and connect it directly to a computer (similar to removing the D-drive from one computer and adding it to another computer. You would then have access to all the data without going thru the software interface and security traps. You would have to construct the hardware to hook the microprocessor into the computer, but if my son can do it , why not the FBI?

    4. So if the FBI could have had access to the data within a few days using a hardware work around, why are they going to court to force Apple to backdoor the software. The answer is #1 above.

    As delineated above, there is reason to be suspicious of the government motives, and the validity of the court order.

    Bridgeguy

    Bridgeguy (d9fa0f)

  335. If the FBI was really interested in stopping Islamic terrorism, then it needs to investigate how an Islamic terrorist so easily got into the US. Who was the person who signed-off Farook’s wife coming in? Who was that person’s supervisor? Why did she so easily get in?

    Terminating those bureaucrats responsible, charging those supervisors who acted negligently, and recommendations on how to get that process under control — This would save more American lives than hacking into a cell phone, now months after the fact.

    The DOJ has trust issues and that includes the FBI: they act increasingly as a partisan arm of the government. Fast and Furious, IRS tax persecutions, Benghazi, Black Panthers…the list goes on and on…not to mention how an Islamic Jihadist came to the US legally and easily from Saudi Arabia. Really?

    At a minimum, I would need to hear the FBI Director say, officially, explicitly and unequivocally: “we are investigating Islamic Terrorism….” Anything less than that, they are not serious and may even have other agendas.

    Pons Asinorum (49e2e8)

  336. The law has not been knocked down. That’s silly.

    The law has been followed — except by Apple. That’s shameful.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  337. As for the devil: That’s not Apple (although I think they’re an immoral, wicked company). It’s Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik. If they’d allowed themselves to be taken alive after their crimes, I’d be one hundred percent in favor of them getting every single bit of due process guaranteed to them. And I’d be well satisfied when, thereafter, they got the needle.

    Don’t preach me “Man for All Seasons.” You don’t want to pick that fight with me, I assure you.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  338. MD [in] Philly: The Texas Lawyers Creed is aspirational; I think some other state bar associations have done similar things. The only enforcement method is indirect, through the State Bar of Texas’ enforcement of the underlying Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, violation of which can result in suspension or loss of license. And I’d be the first to stipulate that one must do much, much worse than violate the Texas Lawyers Creed to jeopardize one’s license in the real world.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  339. I read things like this and I don’t know who to believe, Apple or the government. It’s a rock and a hard place for me, because I don’t trust either of them.

    DRJ (15874d)

  340. Beldar 334,

    I think too many lawyers, and quite a few clients, only see the word “zealous” and never see the rest. It’s seen as justification for whatever some attorneys do in representing their clients.

    DRJ (15874d)

  341. 344 … I don’t know who to believe …

    The link is a bunk of nonsense.

    James B. Shearer (0f56fb)

  342. Never was there a greater offer of proof for the validity of the info than James’ comment.

    JD (d19ff2)

  343. bridgeguy,

    There are so many fallacies, factual inaccuracies, and bad assumptions in your comment that it makes me tired just thinking about responding to it.

    Patterico (86c8ed)

  344. The last computer science courses I took, or serious coding that I did, was in the late 1970s. But I’m now confident, after reading the specifics of the magistrate’s order, that I could already flowchart the code that the FBI is asking Apple to write.

    The only reason that the FBI can’t turn that flowchart (which is implicit, actually, in the order) into code itself is because it doesn’t have the full source code of Apple’s operating system, and can’t simply push the operating system upgrade (with the very simple modification needed to the routines that check and count the number of access attempts). Only Apple has that full source code; the government’s not even asking for that.

    Compliance with this order is entirely possible without releasing to the public the source code from which someone else could figure out how to push OS updates. If hackers can crack that on their own today, they’ll be no less able to crack that on their own after compliance with this order. The security risk for other iPhones will be affected not one whit by this, positively or negatively — unless for some reason Apple were to take the secret steps it’s doing at the government’s request and then leak them.

    There’s no there there. The guy who wrote that link has been sufficiently confused by Apple and the technical issues that he’s indulging in guesswork, on the basis of which he’s got civil liberty concerns.

    I have civil liberty concerns, but in broad terms, I also now understand the technical aspects of what Apple’s being ordered to do, and nothing in that order triggers any of my civil liberty concerns. But I’m moderately technical, for a lawyer, anyway; and not everyone can acquire the technical knowledge (what’s a “source code?”) you need to be able to make sense of this.

    If that’s the case, you have to figure out who to trust. To those of you who don’t trust the government, I say: Me, too, but I trust some parts of the government more than others, depending on the context. And I tend to trust the FBI investigating an international terrorism event on American soil a whole lot more than I’d trust, say, the Obama DoJ making announcements about a civil rights investigation in Ferguson, MO.

    It’s inconceivable that any good law enforcement officer would not want this information. So I’m not going to let my suspicions run rampant just because these FBI officers want it too. I want them to want it, and moreover, I want them to get it!

    Beldar (fa637a)

  345. @ Bridgeguy: My strong advice to you is that you never let your son touch your smartphone.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  346. (Hint: This is not like swapping out a hard drive. Not remotely.)

    Beldar (fa637a)

  347. I’m sorry, that was mean. I apologize, your son may be brilliant, Bridgeguy.

    It would be possible to create this same kind of conundrum with other hardware platforms. If instead of a phone we were talking about a laptop with its drive encrypted, then comparable issues, both legal and technical, might come up, if you set things up just right.

    It’s the encryption, and getting around it, that is the nub of the issue here; your son’s suggestion tells me he doesn’t know that, so I ought not be teasing him or you about that.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  348. Think of it this way:

    This particular iPhone, like millions of others already in circulation, is set up so that Apple can push operating system updates — that is to say, Apple can decide: “Today’s the day we’re going to upgrade all the Model XYZs to the new version of iOS,” and they can enter a couple of computer commands, and via the miracle of the internet all of those Apple iPhones will get upgraded operating systems. Like magic, whether they wanted it or not.

    Most of us are tickled pink that our phone manufacturer will do that for us, so we don’t have to bother. We want our devices to stay up to date and current, with minimal or no effort on our parts.

    But some people don’t want their phone manufacturer to have that power, and so Apple’s been selling other iPhones (I’m told; I won’t buy their stuff no matter what) with software that does not include that power automatically. The user can opt in or out. Okay, that’s fine too.

    If you own an iPhone today, you have either one or the other type. After Apple complies with this order, you’ll still have either one or the other type. And it will be exactly as vulnerable, or as invulnerable, to some hacker pushing an unwanted malware-filled operating system update onto your phone then, as it is today.

    The only exception would be if somehow, Apple got sloppy in complying with the court order on this one specific phone, and somehow — through some act of incredible, mind-boggling stupidity — handed out to the public the source code that would let hackers push bogus OS updates. So for this exception to give you any concern, you have to assume that Apple will be that stupid.

    This little bit of code that the order requires to be written could only affect your iPhone if some hacker can both (a) get this little bit of code, and also get the very different, very secret code that already exists by which Apple can push an OS update. So if you’re worried that as a result of Apple’s compliance with this court order, some bad guy will get your phone and be able to brute-engineer a cracking of its encryption so they can get your naughty pictures, you have to presume that Apple has blabbed two secrets, one of them trivial, the other of them monumental.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  349. So we are supposed to believe that Apple is so kind and great that they could/would never overcome your objection to the upgrade.
    After all, the Apple user has gone into settings and moved a virtual switch to “OFF” and that must mean that Apple has not just not connected with the points of ingress, but wonderful Apple has not just blocked themselves from the port of entry they designed into the system… nope, they’ve built a huge, yuuuuuge, cryptic wall because you flipped a switch in settings

    steveg (fed1c9)

  350. Beldar,

    The hard drive analogy is mine not his, and as this type of technology is not my forte I may have mangled the concept to a degree. I build bridges not computers or smart phones. However, his coding training and experience is far more recent than yours, and his degrees and work in the field of physics and mathematics have allowed him to be published. He has both manufactured the equipment, and written the code to run the equipment, to test things as varied as the Navy’s experimental torpedoes and the flight of butterflies. For Father-Son projects, he and my 7 year old grandson build robots. If you wanted a mechanical arm to remove a warhead from a torpedo he can build the arm and write the code to operate it. So if he says a hardware work around can get access the data on an I-phone, I believe him. He implied it may take him a couple of days, but he believes it can be done.

    You on the other hand admitted to having coding skills 40 years out of date. And I missed any mention you made about the computers you built from scrap parts or the code you have written to run test equipment you have built. Other than your snippy little statement “that it can’t be done” I see no reasonable objection that you have raised. In theory, I don’t see a problem with the work around, although the detailed work may be a bear to achieve. The security features discussed are part of the interface. My son did say it was possible but unlikely (due to cost and difficulty) that security features were continued to the level of the hardware, by why do that if the interface is adequately secured. Of course the data itself may still be encrypted but that would be true whether you you got to it by software or hardware means.

    Bridgeguy (d9fa0f)

  351. 355 So what if there may be other ways into the phone? Does it matter legally?

    James B. Shearer (0f56fb)

  352. So what we take away from all this is, never rely on any encryption except open-source that you installed yourself.

    Because any third-party who supplies it to you will be compelled to give you away and you might not even know that you were given away.

    The right to encryption is every bit as important to a free society as the right to bear arms has been. We never really noticed it until there was so much data around, and so many machines capable of going through it.

    Hopefully we can advocate for and keep the right to encryption without being accused of a desire to aid and abet terrorists and child molesters.

    Gabriel Hanna (3d8e32)

  353. Bridgeguy, if you’re still reading:

    I have a couple of sons whom I love. One’s studying to take the bar next week. The other, having just graduated with his BS in Computer Science, is now working for IBM. I didn’t consult either before posting here, but if anyone said anything mean about them, I’d take offense. I repeat my apology, made spontaneously 4 minutes after my crack about not letting your son touch your phone. I’m sure your son is fabulous too.

    If it were as simple as your son apparently assumes, however, there would not be any controversy. It’s not that simple; he’s working on wrong assumptions and his recommendations therefore are inapt. Go back to him and ask: “Can you connect a smartphone to a computer to retrieve encrypted data from the smartphone without going through the phone’s authentication procedures so that you can then get through the encryption?”

    Get back to us with the answer if you wish, or not, as you choose. I’ll likely not monitor this post’s comments beyond this, however, and I wish you & your son good luck in all things.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  354. The panda also eats, shoots & leaves. Grr. I have a couple of sons, both of whom I love. I have no unloved sons to my knowledge. 😀

    Beldar (fa637a)

  355. I know very little about these things,
    and this may sound foolish,
    I do know that once I messed up a password on a Windows XP tablet PC that had very valuable medical info on it.
    The people at the university computer guru shop said, “No problem” in getting into my computer and returning it to use.

    I imagine a current iPhone is much more complicated than a 2002 era MS XP, so my story may mean nothing.

    I still don’t understand how a computer can gag and then reboot it and it works, did one of the electrons decide to invoke probability considerations and decide to turn R when it should have turned L? (Yes, tongue in cheek)

    MD in Philly (at the moment not in Philly) (deca84)

  356. JD (d19ff2) — 2/20/2016 @ 4:04 pm

    Now that, there, is funny!

    felipe (56556d)

  357. @MD in Philly:The people at the university computer guru shop said, “No problem” in getting into my computer and returning it to use.

    It’s all in what level of security was built in at the beginning. You may have owned a car once that could be opened by a slim jim, but that doesn’t mean you could open a different car today with it. There are locks that can be opened with bobby pins, and locks that can’t.

    In that case what almost certainly happened was he pulled the drive out and used another machine to get the data out, then he reformatted the drive and reinstalled the OS and copied the data back on.

    You can already start to see why that doesn’t work with an iPhone.

    It is easy, with tools that will cost you nothing, to encrypt your data beyond the ability of anyone to recover, not the people who wrote the program, not the NSA, no one. Apple has the ability, of course, to build that level of security into protecting iPhone data but the passcode system was never designed to do anything but keep random strangers out of your phone–it’s like how the deadbolt on your front door will not keep Raffles or Lupin out but is sufficient for most people who might try to take your stuff.

    Gabriel Hanna (3d8e32)

  358. @Beldar:d they can enter a couple of computer commands, and via the miracle of the internet all of those Apple iPhones will get upgraded operating systems. Like magic, whether they wanted it or not.

    Huh. Mine is too full of photos and crap, so it cannot download the OS no matter how badly Apple wants me to, consequently mine never updates and is about 18 months behind.

    If I’m really paranoid I can keep it in a Faraday cage (you can make them from chicken wire) or something, and then no one could do anything to it without getting physical access.

    I assume you know the law pretty well, and I don’t question you on what you’ve said about that, but I think you’ve hurt your case on the technology side by exaggerating where you lack knowledge.

    Gabriel Hanna (3d8e32)

  359. Is there merit to the 1st Amendment code-is-speech argument: http://www.forbes.com/sites/frankminiter/2016/02/18/why-apple-has-a-strong-constitutional-and-moral-case/? Basically the argument boils down to the courts recognizing source code as speech (in the context of publishing encryption algorithms) and due to the 1st Amendment speech can’t be compelled, so therefore Apple can’t be compelled to write code to disable their security features.

    SlimTim (064a83)

  360. your republican establishment at work, ladies and gentlemen

    The Journal reported Thursday afternoon, citing “four people familiar with the matter,” that Sen. Richard Burr, North Carolina Republican, is working on a bill to criminalize a company’s refusal to decipher encrypted communications.*

    sad little country

    so sad

    happyfeet (831175)

  361. I will admit – The best thing about trump is the establishment republicans have stained underwear. And the media has to clean up the mess.

    mg (31009b)

  362. They hate us for our freedoms.

    Please stop laughing and eat your freedom fries.

    nk (dbc370)

  363. 364 … and due to the 1st Amendment speech can’t be compelled, …

    I don’t know what this means. Testimony can be compelled in some cases.

    Anyway as I noted in 188 the government could make the changes itself if Apple gives it the source code. So no merit in my opinion.

    James B. Shearer (0f56fb)

  364. Apple is not worried about the iphone’s supposed security, the thing is built in China after all, and that’s the market they’re interested in. They can peel any phone they like.

    The cloud computing market, however, is a different kettle of fish. All that keeps that viable is hard encryption and no backdoor/master key nonsense. Only YOU can access your data. If the Apple customers lose confidence in their honesty on these points, they are dead in the water.

    mojo (a3d457)

  365. 368 … This is what is meant by the compelled speech ban (from West Virginia State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette):
    “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.”

    I am not a lawyer and have no idea if software code is “expressive” enough for this to be applicable. I do know that source code has been regarded as “protected speech” by the courts so it doesn’t seem completely impossible.

    I disagree your view that the issue is moot since the government could write the software themselves with Apple’s source code. The court order was a demand for Apple to write the software period. It did not demand that the Apple write the software OR disclose the source code to the FBI. Undoubtedly, Apple would prefer to write the software then disclose their source code, but the court order does not given them that choice. If this order is upheld as-written it would set president for the courts to compel open-source software developers to write software tools desired by the FBI.

    SlimTim (a1ea14)

  366. Gonna have to disagree on this one…

    “First, the government is not asking Apple to break the phone’s encryption.”
    They just want them to perform a bunch of totally unrelated tweaks that makes the encryption vulnerable to a brute force attack…. SO THEY CAN BREAK THE ENCRYPTION.

    SMH…

    Captain Obvious (14cc4d)

  367. If I’m really paranoid I can keep it in a Faraday cage (you can make them from chicken wire) or something, and then no one could do anything to it without getting physical access.

    I assume you know the law pretty well, and I don’t question you on what you’ve said about that, but I think you’ve hurt your case on the technology side by exaggerating where you lack knowledge.

    Gabriel Hanna (3d8e32) — 2/21/2016 @ 7:12 pm

    If you keep your phone in a faraday cage, it is no longer a phone. Whatever device you do use for communication will be hooked up to the grid in some way. Of course there are some ways of preventing an operating system update, but they are probably imperfect and there are probably backdoors.

    I hate to use a ‘don’t have anything to hide’ argument, but definitely don’t expect anything on your phone to be absolutely secure. Even if the storage is encrypted, there are cloud connected applications and you have to trust the companies making your phone and its operating system as well. But fortunately I don’t need absolutely secure. Anyone who got on my phone would be quite bored, and damage likely undoable.

    Dustin (2a8be7)

  368. Here is a related case:

    New York judge rules in favor of Apple in earlier locked iPhone case

    In a 50-page ruling rejecting almost everything federal prosecutors had argued, Judge James Orenstein ruled that Apple could not be compelled to help get information off a locked iPhone used by methamphetamine dealer Jun Feng under the 1789 All Writs Act, the same law at issue in the California terrorism case.

    Pons Asinorum (49e2e8)


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