US escalates fight with Apple over iPhone in attacks probe

February 19, 2016
The US Justice Department asks for a court order to compel Apple to help unlock an iPhone as part of the probe into last year's
The US Justice Department asks for a court order to compel Apple to help unlock an iPhone as part of the probe into last year's San Bernardino attacks, escalating the legal battle over encryption

The US government Friday sought a court order to force Apple to help unlock an iPhone as part of the probe into last year's San Bernardino attacks, escalating a legal showdown over encryption.

The motion brought by the Justice Department sought to counter Apple's claim that cooperating with the FBI probe would undermine overall security for its devices, and laid out the legal case for technical assistance.

"The order does not, as Apple's public statement alleges, require Apple to create or provide a 'back door' to every iPhone," said the motion filed in a federal court in California.

"It does not provide 'hackers and criminals' access to iPhones; it does not require Apple to 'hack (its) own users' or to 'decrypt' its own phones."

The filing comes after Apple pledged earlier this week to fight a magistrate's order to assist in unlocking an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the December attacks, which have sharpened the public debate over encryption.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook took a public stand against the request, arguing that it could pave the way for ill-intentioned individuals to unlock any iPhone and raised major privacy concerns.

There was no immediate response by Apple to the latest court filing.

'Marketing concerns'

The new motion said that Apple's public statements suggest it is basing its defense on "marketing concerns" and that the company was not being asked to hand over any sensitive software that could be used by hackers.

"Apple did not assert that it lacks the technical capability" to help, the motion said, but is refusing in part because of "a perceived negative impact on its reputation and marketing strategy were it to provide the ordered assistance."

A hearing in the case is set for March 22, according to the motion.

"The urgency of this investigation requires this motion now that Apple has made its intention not to comply patently clear," it said.

"There may be critical communications and data... that thus far has not been accessed."

The said Apple has the capacity to help the FBI unlock an iPhone 5C used by Syed Farook, a US citizen who went on the rampage with his Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik, killing 14 people at an office party in San Bernardino, California.

The government is seeking Apple's help in disabling a feature that wipes data from the phone when too many attempts are made to guess the passcode.

Apple's Cook said it was too risky to provide the requested software.

"The US government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone," he said in a message to customers this week.

"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 initial raised hackles among privacy advocates, who see the potential to unleash unbridled surveillance in the United States and elsewhere.

But Apple also came under attack for thwarting a critical security investigation. The case is likely to work its way through the courts, which will need to consider a number of both technical and legal questions.

The White House said this week it supports the request by the FBI and Department of Justice, disputing Apple's claim about weakening security.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the order is "simply asking for something that would have an impact on this one device."

Yet Apple and many in the tech sector fear that complying could open the door for broader requests to unlock devices and ultimately more widespread surveillance.

Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym's order is based on the 1789 All Writs Act, which lays out broad authority for the courts to help enforcement of the law.

US officials have declined to speculate how the courts may enforce the order, but Apple in theory could be held in contempt, with a number of penalties, if it fails to comply.

The case is likely to face appeals from both sides, and could end up before the US Supreme Court.

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18 comments

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IronhorseA
1 / 5 (2) Feb 19, 2016
"US officials have declined to speculate how the courts may enforce the order, but Apple in theory could be held in contempt, with a number of penalties, if it fails to comply.

Read more at: http://phys.org/n...tml#jCp"

Shut down all their web sites, US facilities and stores and starve them of cash. This is a legitimate request and their refusal to cooperate is no different than hindering an official investigation. They made the 'safe' and therefore they are required to open it if there is a legitimate court order and the usual 'locksmiths' don't have the right tools to open it.
gulfcoastfella
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 19, 2016
There's a profound lack of details regarding what each party is asking of the other party. Does the FBI want to take ownership of a software crack which will unlock the iPhone? If so, then that's no different than asking lock makers to submit a master key which will only be used to unlock one residence, but is capable of unlocking any other. If, on the other hand, the FBI wants to hand over the phone to Apple, have Apple unlock it, and then have Apple return the unlocked phone to the FBI, then that preserves civil privacy rights and sounds perfectly lawful to me. But it doesn't sound like the FBI is asking for Apple to get them into the phone. It sounds like the FBI is asking for the ability to get into an iPhone without any interference or approval from outside parties.
Noumenon
5 / 5 (2) Feb 19, 2016
Apple is right to refuse IF the request requires Apple to hand over software or capability to unlock or decipher 'iPhones',..... however, their refusal is egregious IF they are only asked to retrieve data from 'a' iPhone belonging to a terrorist.
ekim
not rated yet Feb 19, 2016
If the government wants Apple to build this backdoor to phones they sell, they should buy a controlling share of Apple. Until then, Apple remains a private company who must look out for the interests of their shareholders first and foremost. They are the ones who will suffer is this information falls into the hands of criminals. Once this technology exists, it will be highly sought by those wishing to use it for nefarious means.
gulfcoastfella
1.7 / 5 (3) Feb 19, 2016
One more comment, then I'll be quiet. I've heard talk that Apple doesn't want to do it because they don't want the crack to fall into the wrong hands; but the wrong people will develop a crack on their own anyway, and so Apple is just using that as an excuse. There's plenty of precedent throughout history of it taking a long time for the first success, which is then promptly followed by an avalanche of secondary yet independent successes. Take the 4-minute mile. A lot of experts believed that the mile could not be run in less than 4 minutes. For a very long time it wasn't. But as soon as the first runner did it, many runners followed suit. Why? Because knowing that something is, in fact, possible is half the challenge. As soon as the first party proves it can be done, it's a much smaller effort for others to follow suit. The same can be said for mounting Everest and probably countless other examples. Apple just doesn't want to prove it can be done.
TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (2) Feb 19, 2016
"US officials have declined to speculate how the courts may enforce the order, but Apple in theory could be held in contempt, with a number of penalties, if it fails to comply.

Read more at: http://phys.org/n...tml#jCp"

Shut down all their web sites, US facilities and stores and starve them of cash. This is a legitimate request and their refusal to cooperate is no different than hindering an official investigation. They made the 'safe' and therefore they are required to open it if there is a legitimate court order and the usual 'locksmiths' don't have the right tools to open it.


We love you Big Brother. https://www.youtu...5hklbBsA
obama_socks
3 / 5 (2) Feb 19, 2016
I disagree. Such a move by Apple to unlock that particular IPhone for the Feds could possibly lead to wholesale abuse by the US government to invade the privacy of many innocent and law-abiding American citizens who use the IPhone. The US government is taking steps to find more evidence of terrorism by snooping into the private records of an IPhone user. It is too little and too late, when they should have been vetting and snooping into the lives and agenda of the terrorists BEFORE they entered the country.
I own a later model IPhone and I know how the system works to ensure my privacy and that of others. I appreciate the lengths that IPhone has taken to give me that assurance. Business people and other professionals use their IPhone to conduct their businesses on a daily basis and it would be a breach of privacy laws for the government to remove the safety features that prevent anyone but the owner/user from accessing and enabling its use. They would then know how it is done.
obama_socks
1 / 5 (1) Feb 19, 2016
"I've heard talk that Apple doesn't want to do it because they don't want the crack to fall into the wrong hands; but the wrong people will develop a crack on their own anyway, and so Apple is just using that as an excuse." - gulfcoastfella

Except for the oldest version of IPhone, Apple has incorporated new safety features for the IPhone that is impossible to open without the correct password. It is a 6-digit PW system which is also governed by a lockout after 9 tries at the PW. On the tenth try the system prevents the IPhone from being accessed at all and shuts it down. It is probably this feature that the FBI wants defeated. They want Apple to write new software to defeat the lockout. The question is: Can the FBI & the Justice Dept. be trusted to unlock the one phone and no other? The government is not trustworthy these days under Obama and almost anyone within could abuse that trust to snoop into every IPhone that is in working order.
IronhorseA
1 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2016
[]

We love you Big Brother. https://www.youtu...5hklbBsA


Big corporations are just as much big brother as the goverment, worse actually since they are not accountable to anyone but their shareholders. Go look at "The Register" and you will find a technical description of what is being asked, ie. to use a backdoor that Apple already included in that model of Iphone (OS updates whether the phone is unlocked or not) to insert a special version of the OS in that one particular phone to disable the auto erase after 10 pass code failures. Not to push this to other phones, just this one phone. If this were a safe, the court order would be for the full engineering plans drawn up by the safe maker.
And starving big corporations for cash is the only way to make them behave. Now if we could only do that to Trump.
TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (2) Feb 20, 2016
Big corporations are just as much big brother as the goverment, worse actually since they are not accountable to anyone but their shareholders.

Wake up!

They are also accountable to the people who buy their technology because they fell secure with it.

Let me be brutally honest. One thing you have got to understand is that Apple sells its technology all over the world and the world do not fucking care about your little homeland crisis. I am not trying to insult you; I just want to shake you off the cloud you are sitting on.

Mark my words: If Apple, or anybody else for that matter, breaks this security system, their sales worldwide are going to go down. Is that really what you want?
gulfcoastfella
1 / 5 (2) Feb 21, 2016
US would let Apple keep software to help FBI hack iPhone

http://phys.org/n...one.html
gkam
1 / 5 (4) Feb 22, 2016
This is just a ruse to make it normal to spy on us. They already do it, but do it illegally.

This makes it "okay" for Big Brother to own us.
gkam
1 / 5 (4) Feb 22, 2016
Wow, Auntie Ego follows me around and awards me "ones" out of spite, even before I can post another. It is interesting to be the one who controls others inadvertently, via their own emotional problems.

At least he is not quite as crude and barbaric as his brother otto.

I wonder if he supports Big Brother.

Do you, Auntie?
Uncle Ira
3 / 5 (2) Feb 22, 2016
awards me "ones"

What's it to you Skippy? He is my award to give and I am allowed to give him to anybody I want to give him to.

even before I can post another.

Don't be so impatient, I will give another one AFTER you postum another.

At least he is not quite as crude and barbaric as his brother otto.

I don't use the bad language and such like. I never did need it to say what I got to say.

I wonder if he supports Big Brother.

Why you don't ask him? But if you do don't get mad if he thinks it is a silly question.

Do you, Auntie?

I do not know who the "Big Brother" is so I don't know if I do or I do not. I think this whole "Big Brother" stuffs is silly.

It is the emotional general catch all phrase that don't mean more than saying the "Boogie Man" or the "Aliens" or the "Templars" or the "Iluminati" is going to come get you.

There is no "Big Brother", it is just a catch-all word that means anything to anybody.
gkam
1 / 5 (3) Feb 22, 2016
Anyone who has worked with classified intelligence knows this is a trick to get everything we have for Big Brother.

Those who haven't usually do not.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2016
Anyone who has worked with classified intelligence knows this is a trick

And, you the Pathological Liar, knows about all the tricks.
gkam
1 / 5 (3) Feb 22, 2016
Give it up. Your need to abuse others is an embarrassing revelation of character.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2016
Don't give it up. Your need to victimize others with your pathological lies is a revelation of your true character.

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