The FBI doesn't need Apple to give it a backdoor to encryption, because it already has all the access it needs

Once again, the FBI is putting pressure on Apple to help them break into the phone of a mass shooter. And once again, Apple has been largely resistant to the effort. Which is good, because a government having control over a private company that gives them secret backdoor access into people's personal technology devices is an authoritarian wet dream waiting to happen.

It also doesn't matter anyway because — as Reuters pointed out this week — Apple already buckled under FBI pressure a few years and cancelled their plans to add end-to-end encryption to all iPhone backups in iCloud:

The company said it turned over at least some data for 90% of the requests it received [from the FBI]. It turns over data more often in response to secret U.S. intelligence court directives, which sought content from more than 18,000 accounts in the first half of 2019, the most recently reported six-month period.

But what if the FBI wants access to someone's locked iPhone, and they haven't backed it up to iCloud? They still don't need Apple's help, because — as with the San Bernardino shooting — there are plenty of third-party companies that can and will gladly solve the problem in exchange for money.

From OneZero:

Over the past three months, OneZero sent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to over 50 major police departments, sheriffs, and prosecutors around the country asking for information about their use of phone-cracking technology. Hundreds of documents from these agencies reveal that law enforcement in at least 11 states spent over $4 million in the last decade on devices and software designed to get around passwords and access information stored on phones.

Read the rest

FBI signals it has new iPhone-unlocking powers, and plans to use them: Xeni on KCRW's 'Press Play'

On today's edition of the KCRW daily news program Press Play, I speak with host Madeleine Brand about what we know, as of today, about any new capabilities the FBI may have acquired in its quest to bypass the security features on Apple iOS devices in various investigations. Read the rest

After suddenly dropping Apple case, FBI now defeating security on iPhones in other cases

Well, that didn't take long, did it. Just days after the Justice Department dropped its high-profile case against Apple over the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, the FBI offered Wednesday to help a prosecutor in Arkansas hack an iPhone and an iPod in a double murder case. Read the rest

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

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. Read the rest

Justice Department to drop 'FBI vs. Apple' case, because they've unlocked the iPhone

The #FBIvsApple legal case may be over, but the fight over security, privacy, and the right to live free of surveillance has just begun. The Justice Department is expected to drop its legal action against Apple, possibly as soon as today, because an 'outside method' to bypass security on the San Bernardino gunman's iPhone has proven successful, a federal law enforcement official said Monday. Read the rest

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

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. Read the rest

Iran: We snarfed up “13,000 pages of data” from detained Navy sailors' devices

The government of Iran claims to have obtained “thousands of pages of information” from devices used by the U.S. Navy sailors briefly detained in January. Read the rest

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

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. Read the rest

As FBI war on crypto intensifies, Facebook, Google, WhatsApp to intensify use of encryption

In response to the FBI's attack on Apple's use of encryption-based security methods, some of the biggest names in technology are reported to be planning an expanded use of encryption for user data that passes through, or is stored on, their products and services. Read the rest