2016-02-18

Apple vs US Government: Terrorism, Security, Privacy, Freedom, Liberty



Apple to Oppose Judge's Order to Unlock iPhone - Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company will oppose a federal judge's order to help the Justice Department unlock a phone used by a suspect in the San Bernardino attack, which killed 14 people. Video published on Feb 17, 2016

UPDATE: Apple Gains Silicon Valley's Backing in Government Fight - Bloomberg Business: “This is a classic legislative function, the courts aren’t really equipped to weigh the policies in the forum of a democratic society -- what’s more important, protection against terrorists or protections against your privacy?”--Robert Cattanach, a lawyer at Dorsey & Whitney who practices in areas of regulatory litigation including cybersecurity.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has written a customer letter in response to, and opposing, a US District Court Order (embedded below) requiring Apple help the FBI break into the iPhone 5C used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. Federal Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym said that Apple must provide "reasonable technical assistance" to the FBI, which would require Apple:
"Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession." -- Apple Customer Letter, infra
Customer Letter - Apple: (February 16, 2016)--excerpt (read the full letter at the foregoing link)-- ".... A Dangerous Precedent - Rather than asking for legislative action through Congress, the FBI is proposing an unprecedented use of the All Writs Act of 1789 to justify an expansion of its authority. The government would have us remove security features and add new capabilities to the operating system, allowing a passcode to be input electronically. This would make it easier to unlock an iPhone by “brute force,” trying thousands or millions of combinations with the speed of a modern computer.

"The implications of the government’s demands are chilling. If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.

"Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government. We are challenging the FBI’s demands with the deepest respect for American democracy and a love of our country. We believe it would be in the best interest of everyone to step back and consider the implications.

"While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products. And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect."
--Tim Cook, Apple CEO (emphasis added)

Embedded below is the US District Court Order Apple is challenging:



The following is from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF):
EFF to Support Apple in Encryption Battle | Electronic Frontier Foundation:  Electronic Frontier Foundation
FEBRUARY 16, 2016 | BY KURT OPSAHL
EFF to Support Apple in Encryption Battle

"We learned on Tuesday evening that a U.S. federal magistrate judge ordered Apple to backdoor an iPhone that was used by one of the perpetrators of the San Bernardino shootings in December. Apple is fighting the order which would compromise the security of all its users around the world.

"We are supporting Apple here because the government is doing more than simply asking for Apple’s assistance. For the first time, the government is requesting Apple write brand new code that eliminates key features of iPhone security—security features that protect us all. Essentially, the government is asking Apple to create a master key so that it can open a single phone. And once that master key is created, we're certain that our government will ask for it again and again, for other phones, and turn this power against any software or device that has the audacity to offer strong security.

"The U.S. government wants us to trust that it won't misuse this power. But we can all imagine the myriad ways this new authority could be abused. Even if you trust the U.S. government, once this master key is created, governments around the world will surely demand that Apple undermine the security of their citizens as well.

"EFF applauds Apple for standing up for real security and the rights of its customers. We have been fighting to protect encryption, and stop backdoors, for over 20 years. That's why EFF plans to file an amicus brief in support of Apple's position." (emphasis added)




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