FBI may have dropped one iPhone case against Apple, but the battle is far from over

NYPD officer across the street from Apple's 5th Ave. store, NYC, March 11, 2016. REUTERS
The Justice Department says that security features on a San Bernardino attacker's iPhone were bypassed by an ‘outside party’, making that one important government case against Apple moot. But many other similar cases, including other cases involving Apple, are going forward. The war on your phone's security is just beginning.

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FBI may not need Apple's help with that iPhone after all, nevermind, maybe

NYPD officer across the street from Apple's 5th Ave. store, NYC, March 11, 2016. REUTERS

In a surprising turn of events, the U.S. government on Monday paused its battle with Apple over an iPhone, and what may be its greater goal of mandating “backdoors” in consumer encryption. On Monday afternoon, the Justice Department told a judge it needs a couple weeks to try 'new' ways of accessing whatever may be on the device, without Apple's help--and with an assist from unnamed experts from outside the agency.

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Apple releases iOS 9.3, with fix for a big iMessage security flaw

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As part of its big iPhone/iPad launch event today in Cupertino, Apple also released a software update that fixes a flaw which made it possible for iCloud-stored images or video sent via iMessage to be decrypted by third parties. Today's iOS update also adds a number of cool new features.

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LGBTQ people and Apple vs FBI

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Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Everyone is focused on the high profile fight between Apple and the FBI, which is a good thing, because the outcome of this case will affect all of us." Read the rest

Apple engineers quietly discuss refusing to create the FBI's backdoor

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If you're one of the few engineers at Apple qualified to code up the backdoor that the FBI is seeking in its court order, and if your employer loses its case, and if you think you have a solemn duty as a security engineer to only produce code that makes users more secure, not less, what do you do? Read the rest

$160 dock makes 12" MacBook more usable (but maybe just wait for a more usable MacBook)

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I've owned a 12" Retina MacBook for about nine months and feel rather ambivalent about it. It's surprisingly powerful and effective for work, but Apple seems to have given up on the USB-C ecosystem at launch. The single power/USB port severely hobbles it, Apple's only made a couple of comically inappropriate adapters, and the third-party options are outright trash that doesn't even work. Enter OWC's USB-C Dock—loads of useful ports!—which Glenn Fleishman says is the first thing worth buying. But you'll have to pay $160 to get it.

If you haven’t purchased a MacBook yet and can wait, it’s worth looking at Apple’s next laptop releases. Thunderbolt 3, which will use USB-C as its connector type, is due out later this year and is already announced for a special Dell developer edition laptop model. Apple’s roadmap is unclear, but it’s likely we’ll see a revised MacBook at the March 21 event or in April, as the first model appeared just over a year ago; it’s just possible it’ll have Thunderbolt 3 included. Other MacBook models will likely see updates this year, too, and Thunderbolt 3 is a natural for the Pro.
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Hack-attacks with stolen certs tell you the future of FBI vs Apple

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Since 2014, Suckfly, a hacker group apparently based in Chengdu, China, has used at least 9 signing certs to make their malware indistinguishable from official updates from the vendor. Read the rest

Apple, basically: 'If it pleases the court, tell FBI to go fuck themselves'

NYPD officer across the street from Apple's 5th Ave. store, NYC, March 11, 2016. REUTERS

The intensifying legal battle between Apple and the Government of the United States of America is blowing my mind. The legal briefs coming out of Cupertino are awesome reading for those of us who care about silly stuff like freedom and liberty and iPhones. Here are some of the excerpts everyone was talking about on Twitter today.

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John Oliver on Apple vs FBI and the new crypto wars

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John Oliver continues to deliver the best comedy tech analysis in the business, with an epic rant/explainer that delves into Apple vs FBI and the new crypto wars with scathing wit and deep, technical truth that's made miraculously accessible to a general audience. Read the rest

If the FBI can force decryption backdoors, why not backdoors to turn on your phone's camera?

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Eddy Cue, Apple's head of services, has warned that if the FBI wins its case and can force Apple to produce custom software to help break into locked phones, there's nothing in principle that would stop it from seeking similar orders for custom firmware to remotely spy on users through their phones' cameras and microphones. Read the rest

Using distributed code-signatures to make it much harder to order secret backdoors

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Cothority is a new software project that uses "multi-party cryptographic signatures" to make it infinitely harder for governments to order companies to ship secret, targeted backdoors to their products as innocuous-looking software updates. Read the rest

Racial justice organizers to FBI vs Apple judge: crypto matters to #blacklivesmatter

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Phenomena like the Harlem Cryptoparty demonstrate the connection between racial justice and cryptography -- civil rights organizers remember that the FBI spied on and blackmailed Martin Luther King, sending him vile notes encouraging him to kill himself. Read the rest

Why the First Amendment means that the FBI can't force Apple to write and sign code

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Code is speech: critical court rulings from the early history of the Electronic Frontier Foundation held that code was a form of expressive speech, protected by the First Amendment. Read the rest

Apple vs FBI: The privacy disaster is inevitable, but we can prevent the catastrophe

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My new Guardian column, Forget Apple's fight with the FBI – our privacy catastrophe has only just begun, explains how surveillance advocates have changed their arguments: 20 years ago, they argued that the lack of commercial success for privacy tools showed that the public didn't mind surveillance; today, they dismiss Apple's use of cryptographic tools as a "marketing stunt" and treat the proportionality of surveillance as a settled question. Read the rest

ISIS opsec: jihadi tech bureau recommends non-US crypto tools

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The US government is attempting to force Apple to backdoor its Iphone security, congress is considering mandatory backdoors for all secure technology, and FBI director James Comey insists that this will work, because there's no way that America's enemies might just switch over to using technology produced in other countries without such mandates. Read the rest

Apple v FBI isn't about security vs privacy; it's about America's security vs FBI surveillance

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Dan Kaminsky, one of the Internet's essential squad of "volunteer fire fighters" who oversaw the largest-ever synchronized vulnerability patching in Internet history, has written a stirring editorial for Wired explaining what the FBI puts at risk when it demands weaker encryption: it's not our privacy, it's the security of finance, health care, roads, and every other piece of tech-enabled infrastructure in the land. Read the rest

#FBIvsApple could lead to "virtually limitless" surveillance powers, warns judge in iPhone case

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What's at stake in the fight between the FBI and Apple over those iPhones? Oh, no big deal, just the legal green light for “virtually limitless” surveillance under the Internet of Things. That's what a federal judge has ruled in an order rejecting a government request in a New York drug case.

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